HAVANA — After granting temporary permission for Cubans to celebrate Good Friday in 2012 and 2013, the Cuban government has decided to grant a request made by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the country in 2012 to make it a permanent official holiday.
Although the norm will not be in force until June, the Ministry of Work and Social Security issued a special resolution allowing Cubans to observe Good Friday this April 18.
However, it said those who work in services such as sugar-cane harvesting, shipping and receiving, transportation, health care, tourism and other services would not be granted the holiday.
After Fidel Castro assumed power in Cuba in 1959, religious holidays and practices were outlawed.
Religious processions and Christmas were reinstated after John Paul II’s visit to Cuba in 1998.
The Cuban Conference of Catholic Bishops announced on its website this week that state television would broadcast a Passion play on Wednesday evening from the Cathedral of Havana.