New Delhi: Christians across the country on Friday united in prayers, sung songs of repentance, observed fasts and abstained from worldly comforts to commemorate Good Friday, marking the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Hundreds of devouts took out processions at various places carrying wooden crosses and rosaries to symbolise the final hours of Christ from his condemnation to the laying of his body in the tomb after the crucifixion on the Mount Calvary about 2000 years ago.
It was a holiday for all government offices and educational institutes. Many devotees in the national capital attended special masses held in various churches.
In Kerala, spiritual programmes like `Way of Cross` processions were held in which the faithful commemorated the final moments of Christ. People climbed the Malayattoor hills in Kochi, atop which located the famed St Thomas church which is believed to be visited by Apostle St Thomas in AD 52.
In state capital Thiruvananthapuram, Good Friday services were held in all major churches, including St George Orthodox Syrian Cathedral, Mateer Memorial Church and St Joseph Metropolitan Church.
Good Friday was also observed in the northeastern states.
In Nagaland, people took out a silent Cross March on the main streets of capital Kohima and observed fasts. Most of the shops and business establishments remained closed at Dimapur, Kohima and Mokokchung.
In Meghalaya, special sermons on salvation and partaking in the `Lord`s Supper` marked Good Friday. Christians offered prayers at the feet of the Holy Cross, one of the most prominent landmarks in capital Shillong.
The Cathedral Church of Mary Help of Christians is the principal place of worship of the over 3,00,000-strong Catholics of the Shillong Archdiocese which covers the Khasi and Jaintia Hills of Christian-dominated Meghalaya.
Members of different parishes of the Catholic Church took out a `Procession of the Cross` on the streets of Mizoram`s capital Aizawl and sung hymns. The Presbyterian Church and the Baptist Church held mass in the Christian-dominated state.
People across Odisha, including the communally-sensitive Kandhamal district which had witnessed large-scale riots in 2008, also observed Good Friday.
Good Friday also marks the most important day of the season of Lent, when the faithful lead a frugal life shunning all luxury and physical comforts to gain spiritual strength.