IT used to be that Good Friday was the day Australians stayed at home and watched television together.
That was last century.
It was a different time. The Catholic Church was much more dominant in the community.
Non-Catholics might not have gone to church, where Catholics were familiar with the Good Friday rituals of acknowledging the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. But non-Catholics seemed content that a day of Christian significance should shut down much of the normal operations of the country. Businesses were closed. Shops weren't open. People stocked up on the basics to tide them over for the day. All that has changed.
Australia has become much more secular, but the percentage of people identifying as Christian of some type or other is still high at 52 per cent. In the last census in 2016 more than 5.29 million people, or 22 per cent, identified as Catholic. Another 3.1 million (13 per cent) said they were Anglicans. Other Christians added up to 3.8 million (16 per cent).
The list of other religions is long, but the numbers are relatively small - Islam has 604,000 followers, Buddhism 563,000, Hindus 440,000 and the Jewish religion records 91,000 Australian followers.
There are more than seven million Australians who responded to the census by saying they had no religion. That represents more than 30 per cent of the population. And yet we still acknowledge and celebrate the Easter season, and give a nod to Good Friday.
These days people are just as likely to spend the long weekend at the beach, shopping for homewares or sitting in traffic jams as they head up the freeway to beach hideaways.
There will be many thousands of Australians in churches today, marking the stations of the cross and listening to the solemn Bible readings about the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ more than 2000 years ago.
It doesn't hurt non-Christians to consider the messages of Christ - that we should love one another, show compassion and care for the poor and outcast, aspire to peace, and turn the other cheek on occasion to avoid confrontations. They're almost universal aspirations across humanity, and worth taking a minute to think about today.