This Friday, as every year, the financial world will stop spinning and most major stock markets worldwide (except Asia) will keep their doors closed. The Paris Bourse will reopen only next Tuesday, after Easter Monday.
But why are we deprived of Stock Exchange on Good Friday when this day is not a holiday? Important holiday for Christians, the day when Christ was crucified before resurrecting two days later, Good Friday is indeed a holiday in most countries of Protestant tradition, as in the United States, which is not the case in those of Catholic tradition, as with us (with the exception of Alsace-Moselle).
Various legends circulate in the trading rooms on the origin of this tradition. Some evoke the memory of a devastating crash on Good Friday … which nobody remembers! Others explain that the lease of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street required that the building remains closed during major Christian holidays. Explanations very fanciful and finally unconvincing.
A religious foundation
At Euronext, we confirm the religious basis of this rule that goes back several centuries and has had only a few exceptions, despite the many changes that financial markets have undergone. In the Christian tradition it seemed indeed amoral to organize financial transactions on the day of the death of Christ. “In the Middle Ages when churches, and even more cathedrals, were largely open to the city, the Church had imposed the closure of the physical markets that were usually held in front of the religious buildings throughout the Holy Week,” continues Euronext. . The tradition lasted until the 19th century with the development of palaces to host the stock exchanges and it continues today.