Can You Wash Clothes on Good Friday Good Friday Superstition about Laundry

Can You Wash Clothes on Good Friday? Good Friday Superstition about Laundry

Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday and commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This important religious holiday is associated with numerous traditions, superstitions, and beliefs. One of the most common Good Friday superstitions is that washing clothes or doing housework on this day is considered bad luck.

But is there any truth to this old superstition? Should you avoid using your washing machine to prevent misfortune from befalling you and your family? Let’s take a look at the origins of this Good Friday custom and whether there’s anything to it but simple folklore.

This comprehensive guide is about whether can you wash clothes on Good Friday and related Good Friday historical significance of different regions and religions of our world.

The History and Significance of Good Friday

Before delving into the superstitions, first, let’s cover some background on Good Friday itself. This Christian holy day is observed during Holy Week on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday. It commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.

According to the Bible, Jesus was arrested after the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday and brought before Pontius Pilate. The Roman governor sentenced him to death by crucifixion, a common method of capital punishment at the time. Jesus was mocked, flogged, and made to carry his cross to Calvary where he was nailed to the wooden cross between two thieves. He suffered greatly and died several hours later. His body was removed from the cross before sundown and buried in a nearby tomb.

Good Friday is a solemn day of mourning and penance in remembrance of Christ’s suffering and sacrificial death on the cross for the sins of humanity. Many Christians spend this day fasting, praying, and reflecting on the events leading up to the crucifixion. It’s also common to abstain from eating meat on Good Friday as a small sacrifice.

When Is Good Friday 2024?

Good Friday in 2024 will be on March 29th.

Good Friday is always two days before Easter, so its date varies each year depending on when Easter Sunday occurs. Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the spring equinox around March 21st. So Good Friday can land anywhere between March 20th to April 23rd.

Good Friday Superstitions and Customs

There are several superstitions and peculiar folk customs traditionally associated with Good Friday. These old wives’ tales stem from medieval religious beliefs as well as ancient pagan traditions surrounding the spring equinox.

Some of the more well-known Good Friday superstitions include:

  • A child born on Good Friday and baptized on Easter Sunday has the gift of healing
  • An egg laid on Good Friday will never go bad and will cure illnesses
  • Seeds planted on Good Friday will yield the best harvest
  • Bread or buns baked on this day will never go moldy
  • Laundry done on Good Friday will never come clean and cause bad luck
  • Washing on Good Friday brings poverty for the rest of the year

Where did these curious beliefs originate? Let’s look at the history behind the Good Friday superstition of avoiding laundry.

The Superstition of Not Washing Clothes on Good Friday

There are a surprising number of myths and superstitions attached to washing clothes on Good Friday. An old wives tale says that this day brings bad luck and anything you wash will never come fully clean. There is also a belief that doing laundry on this holy day is sacrilegious and constitutes as a sin you’ll pay for later.

Some think that if you wash clothes on this fateful Friday, you’ll wash a family member out of the house and home. Meaning they may fall ill or die. Others believe the laundry water is unlucky and symbolically washes Jesus away instead of your dirty clothes.

Where did this peculiar superstition come from? Well, some sources trace it back to medieval times when the Catholic church decreed that Good Friday was a universal day of mourning for Christ’s death. They banned certain tasks on this holy day including farming, gardening, and household chores like laundering clothes.

Religious Roots

In the Middle Ages, the church forbade laundering and other domestic work on religious holidays out of respect and to prevent them from becoming like any other mundane day. Good Friday laundry prohibitions stem from old requirements for proper observance of holy days, similar to the Jewish custom of avoiding work on the Sabbath.

The Catholic tradition also prohibited slaughtering warm-blooded animals on holy days of obligation. So observant families had to prepare and cook food ahead of time before Good Friday if they wanted to avoid going hungry. They were also excused from fasting if eggs, dairy, or fish were the only options.

These old religious decrees gave rise to whispered superstitions over the centuries that washing clothes on Good Friday would anger God and bring his wrath upon the disrespectful launderer.

Pagan Influences

In addition to Catholic influences, some sources believe the prohibition on laundry and housework can be traced to old pagan superstitions.

Since Good Friday occurs in early spring around the vernal equinox, it became mingled with pagan celebrations that marked the beginning of planting season. Normally this would be a time filled with cleaning rituals in anticipation of the coming year. But religious observances transformed it into a solemn remembrance of Christ’s passion.

The old pagan reverence for the fertility magic of the changing seasons may have contributed to folk beliefs about disastrous consequences for engaging in cleaning or laundry on Good Friday.

Different Religions’ Belief: Washing on Good Friday

Bosnian and Catholic Beliefs:

In some Catholic and Bosnian traditions, it’s customary to avoid not just washing clothes on Good Friday, but also cleaning the house, sweeping, taking out the trash, sewing, tying knots, etc. Some abstain from household tasks the entire Holy Week not just Good Friday.

Bosnian Catholics strongly adhere to the Good Friday taboo because they believe that if you wash or sweep on this day, a family member will get sick or die by the end of the year.

Chinese Beliefs

Similar laundry taboos exist in Chinese culture surrounding their New Year festivities. It’s considered terrible luck to wash clothes for the entire first two days of Chinese New Year.

This comes from the tradition that gods inspect households at the start of the new year. So people avoid cleaning or washing laundry to prevent bad karma and allow good luck to accumulate. They also abstain from tasks that symbolically “wash away” fortunes and blessings.

Should You Avoid Laundry on Good Friday?

Abstaining from laundry on Good Friday has deep roots in various religious and cultural traditions. But should modern people avoid using washing machines on this day out of fear of negative repercussions?

Well, it depends on your personal beliefs. If you consider Good Friday a solemn religious holiday for prayer and reflection on the crucifixion, then it makes sense to continue avoiding domestic tasks as a symbolic gesture.

However, if you put no stock in old wives’ tales, then religiously avoiding laundry out of superstition may seem outdated or unnecessary. After all, there are no known consequences beyond a guilty conscience for breaking with tradition.

With shifts away from strict religious observances as well as technological advances making washing clothing more convenient, fewer and fewer people staunchly avoid Good Friday laundry. However, the custom persists as a part of spring cleaning rituals and is still upheld in many Christian households.

Common Good Friday Superstitions & Beliefs

Beyond laundry taboos, there are several other fascinating folk beliefs and peculiar superstitions connected to Good Friday. These traditions have medieval Catholic origins but also incorporated ancient pagan springtime superstitions over the centuries.

Here are some of the more common Good Friday superstitions people adhere to just in case:

It’s Bad Luck to Plant Crops

Farmers would traditionally avoid planting crops on Good Friday since God cursed the ground when Adam and Eve got banished from the Garden of Eden.

There’s also a belief that any seeds sown on this fateful Friday will fail to germinate or sprout properly at best…and never grow at worst.

 Don’t Start a New Project

Much like the taboo on planting seeds, starting construction on a new home, beginning a new knitting project, or making any other new items on Good Friday will doom them to failure.

This comes from the symbolic idea that God will not bless endeavors begun on the solemn anniversary of Jesus’ death.

No Gardening Allowed

Centuries ago the Catholic church banned working the earth through gardening, plowing fields, or digging holes on holy days of obligation. This religious decree gave rise to the superstition that doing so on Good Friday would make your land barren and infertile.

Don’t Pet Animals

On Good Friday, you’re supposed to kill the “Judas” inside of you, meaning anger. There’s a medieval superstition that loving pets transfers your internal rage into them causing illness. So no petting!

Death Omens Abound

Our ancestors saw many ill omens predicting impending doom around Good Friday. Bleeding wounds on old crucifixes. Church statues shedding tears of blood. Impending death if you see a white butterfly.

Make sure to scatter basil leaves, practice self-flagellation, and keep watch for demonic black cats just in case!

Good Friday Folklore From Around the World

Good Friday folk traditions differ across various cultures and countries. Many originate from medieval Catholic taboos while a few have roots in ancient pagan rituals.

🇬🇧 What Do Brits Believe About Good Friday?

In the UK and Ireland, Good Friday has a surprising amount of weird folklore around it considering it’s a bank holiday that gives most people a welcomed day off! Here are a few interesting tidbits:

  • Bread and hot cross buns baked on Good Friday will never go moldy
  • Hard-boiled eggs laid by chickens on this day will never spoil and protect houses from fire
  • Eating fish instead of meat on Good Friday protects you from shipwrecks
  • Sowing potatoes will yield a terrible crop or even kill the planter
  • Thoroughly cleaning homes and washing floors brings poverty

🇮🇹 Italian Superstitions for Good Friday

Italians have peculiar Good Friday superstitions passed through the generations including:

  • Children born on this holy day have special healing gifts and a birthmark resembling a cross
  • Refusing to eat the traditional fish dinner curses you with hiccups or stomach problems until Easter Sunday
  • Look out for creeping ants! Spotting them signals sorrowful news coming your way
  • Black cats seen on this day are bad omens harbingers of disaster

The list goes on and on!

🇺🇸 American Beliefs About Good Friday

Many traditional American Good Friday customs came from immigrants bringing superstitions over from Europe mixed with Puritan influences. Some include:

  • Thirteen people eating dinner together on Good Friday dooms one to die before next Easter
  • One must wear special charms made from palm leaves to keep illnesses at bay until the resurrection
  • Allowing fire in your home on this day condemns your family and livestock to sickness

More Peculiar Good Friday Legends & Mythology

Beyond laundry and housekeeping taboos, there are innumerable folk beliefs and strange superstitions attached to Good Friday. These myths stem from fusing Easter religious observances with ancient springtime pagan rituals.

Here’s a look at some truly odd notions that cropped up in centuries past:

 Earthquakes Explained

In Guatemala during the early 1900s, locals believed earthquakes felt on Good Friday occurred as God slammed the gates of Hell closed. This trapped the souls of all unjust sinners sentenced to fiery torment rather than freedom through redemption.

 Wild Hares Appear

German folklore tells of magical hares hiding eggs in gardens as presents to children on Good Friday night as a reward for fasting during Lent. These gifts boded well for an abundant growing season.

The Dead Walk Among Us

Medieval mythology warns that ghosts and spirits set free from Hell roam the earth freely on Good Friday at midnight. Some believe Satan himself goes out hunting souls who haven’t lived righteously.

The Pope’s Godly Powers

In Chile and some parts of Europe, myths say that the Pope performs three sacred tasks on Good Friday before ten o’clock on Easter morning. He must harrow Hell to ordain baptized souls, consecrate holy oils, and bless the holy Palms.

If you’re still curious about Good Friday legends and customs, here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Is it bad luck to wash clothes on Good Friday?

According to old superstitions, yes it’s terrible luck! Washing laundry on this holy day was believed to wash a family member out of the house and home or symbolically wash Jesus and his protection away.

Can you garden on Good Friday?

No. This task was banned in old Catholic tradition along with farming and other chores. Superstition says working the earth curses your land to remain cold and barren.

Should you stay home on Good Friday?

Many devote Christians attend solemn church services marking Christ’s crucifixion on this holy day of mourning and reflection. It’s also common to fast, avoid meat, pray, repent sins, watch passion plays, etc.

Is Black Friday the same as Good Friday?

No. Black Friday is the name given to shopping sales madness on the day after American Thanksgiving. Good Friday is the religious holiday marking the execution of Jesus by crucifixion.


Good Friday is certainly a solemn, contemplative holy day for Christians rather than a carefree holiday. While you may not wholeheartedly believe it’s terrible luck to wash clothes or complete chores on the anniversary of Christ’s death, showing reverence never hurts!

If you want to err on the side of caution, avoid laundry and housework as generations before you did. Spend the day fasting, praying, reflecting on God’s grace, and remembering the sacrifices Jesus made leading up to his horrific crucifixion.

Maybe prepare some tasty hot cross buns or paint egg shells instead of doing yard work. Attend church services. Watch passion play. Sing mournful hymns while evaluating your shortcomings and sins.

While not all of us adhere to strict old religious decrees today, carrying on little traditions reminds us to slow down and refocus spiritually. And if a bit of leftover superstitious dodges bad karma too, even better!

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