Thiruvananthapuram, April 18: One of the most important days in the Christian calendar – Good Friday – was observed across the state with the faithful turning up in churches in good numbers.
Good Friday is observed as a day of prayers, penance and fasting to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Calvary Hills nearly 2,000 years ago.
Among the key religious ceremonies listed for the day in churches is the “Way of the Cross” – the 14 stations on Christ’s Journey to Mount Calvary from Roman governor Pilate’s palace are re-enacted with the worshippers moving to each station singing hymns as the story of the betrayal, arrest, trial and crucifixion of Christ is narrated by the priest.
The second significant ritual is the customary drinking of “choruka” (a decoction made of bitter gourd juice and vinegar) by all.
When the Good Friday mass reaches its last lap, the priest pours out a spoon of “Choruka”.
This symbolises the cry a crucified Jesus made just before he died and how some of those watching took a piece of cloth, dipped it in cheap wine, put it on a piece of stick, lifted it to his mouth and tried to make him drink.
Another important event is the drinking of “kanji” immediately after the mass ends.
Everyone who goes to a church makes it a point to have at least one serving of this gruel.
The Good Friday mass begins around 8 a.m in the morning and the longest service is in the Orthodox Church where it ends around 2 p.m.
Christians account for around a quarter of Kerala’s 33 million population.