Today is Good Friday, as we call it in English. In German, it is Karfreitag, meaning “Friday of Lamentation.” In Armenia it’s called High Friday, and the Russians refer to it as Passion Friday. In China, it’s known as the Day of Christ’s Suffering. Other languages usually refer to it as Holy Friday.
In England, hot cross buns are served on this day, and the BBC introduced its morning newscast today with a verse from Isaac Watts’ hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” But perhaps the most interesting of traditions for this holy day comes in the island nation of Bermuda, where the custom is to fly kites on Good Friday.
Before you assume they have taken another holy day and turned it into a vacation resort recreational activity, there’s a deeper meaning behind their kite-flying. It is said that in Bermuda’s early days a teacher used a kite to illustrate the crucifixion of Christ, and obviously that illustration made its point. A tradition was born, and today all of the kites used in the Bermuda Kite Festival are to be made using wooden frames in the shape of a cross.
The kites humming in the wind are said to represent the moaning of Jesus’ mother Mary, and the sound of the crowd shouting “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Ultimately, as the kites soar into the sky, they symbolize Christ the crucified one who is now ascended into heaven.
I had never heard of the Bermuda Kite Festival until recently, but I do think I like the tradition. Admittedly, it is a symbol, and like any symbol it can lose its meaning, as I am sure it has for many of the Bermudans. But it does remind us of the point of Good Friday, and that is that our Lord Jesus shed His blood on the cross for the sins of the world.
I don’t know if you have any Good Friday traditions, or intentional reminders you make use of to point you to the cross, but I would encourage you to at least take time today to reflect on the cross of Christ, and the sacrifice Jesus offered when He gave His life for us. If it helps, go fly a kite. Just remember Jesus when you’re doing it.
I am praying for you, and I’m excited to have the opportunity of celebrating the risen Christ with each of you this Easter Sunday morning.