Did you know that Connecticut is just one of 12 states that observe Good Friday as a state holiday. The others include: Texas, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina and North Dakota.

Good Friday is not an official holiday in the United States. Good Friday is a holiday designated by the governor as a day of fasting and prayer in Connecticut.

Good Friday is the day when Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. The Easter date depends on the ecclesiastical

approximation of the March equinox.

Darien’s Easter services include the traditional Good Friday cross walk from First Congregational Church to St. Luke’s, ending with a three-hour community service. There is also an annual Easter Egg hunt on Good Friday at 10 a.m. at the Darien Community Association. Christ Community Church also plans a showing of the movie, “The Passion,” at Darien Library at 2:30 p.m. on Good Friday. Let us know your Easter-related events at editor@Darientimes.com.

The history of Good Friday in Connecticut is a bit murky. In a report requested by the Legislature in 2009 Kristin Sullivan wrote “You asked for the legislative history of the law designating Good Friday as a legal holiday and why state offices close on this day. Either the governor or the law may designate a legal state holiday. The governor designates Good Friday and it appears this has been the case for over 100 years. Thus, we cannot provide a legislative history on a law designating Good Friday. We searched the State Register and Manual and found that since at least 1906, Connecticut governors have so designated Good Friday. They have also designated Thanksgiving Day. The law currently designates as legal holidays New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, Lincoln's Birthday, Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans' Day, and Christmas.”

State offices normally close for legal holidays, including Good Friday, because the State Personnel Act requires each state employee to receive paid time off (CGS § 5-254). Thus, the statutes generally treat legal holidays like weekends: they are not considered business days and state employees are not expected to work. (However, on a legal holiday, state-chartered banks may decide for themselves whether to open or close.)

Not all states have taken Good Friday in such stride. In 1999, in the case of Bridenbaugh v O’Bannon, an Indiana state employee sued the governor for giving state employees Good Friday as a day off. The US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the plaintiff, stating that the government could give state employees a paid day off when that day is a religious holiday, including Good Friday, but only so long as the state can provide a valid secular purpose that coincides with the obvious religious purpose of the holiday.

The US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the plaintiff, stating that the government could give state employees a paid day off when that day is a religious holiday, including Good Friday, but only so long as the state can provide a valid secular purpose that coincides with the obvious religious purpose of the holiday.

This is an important event in Christianity, as it represents the sacrifices and suffering in Jesus’ life. The crucifixion was the culmination of a number of events in Holy Week, including: the triumphal return of Jesus to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; the washing of the disciples’ feet by Jesus; and the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday. Some churches organize a prayer vigil on Good Friday for various causes, such as for cancer patients or for the American troops who have been sent to the middle-east.

Here is a quick list of what’s open and what’s not this Good Friday.

State offices

Closed. Yes, it’s a religious holiday, but it’s a state holiday, partly because of unions’ bargaining agreements with the state.

That means, no DMV, courts or any other state offices open.

Federal offices,

agencies

All open since it’s not a federal holiday.

Courts

State courts are closed. Federal courts are open.

Postal service

Regular mail service and deliveries.

Schools

Most schools are closed. School districts establish their own calendars, with days off, or following a uniform with other districts in the region.

Banks

Since Good Friday is a state holiday in Connecticut, banks can close provided they give their customers notice and post closing dates and hours in all their branches.

Financial markets

Financial markets, which are private, are closed on Friday. The New York Stock Exchange has been closed on Good Friday since 1885.

Private businesses

Have the most leeway, as long as it follows labor laws.

Some businesses may close early Friday afternoon.

Stores

Nearly all are open Friday, but some may be closed or close early on Easter Sunday.

Liquor stores

Open Friday, but individual package store owners have the option to close.

Trains

Metro-North is opening on its regular schedule Friday and through the weekend.