As long as I have known, Good Friday (and usually Easter Monday) have been public holidays. And this made perfect sense to me because I was part of a family that was active in the church. Besides, for many years we went to my grandparents' for Easter and the 4 day weekend made this more possible.
But more and more now I have to wonder why. AFter all why, in a nation that has no official religion, do we make a public holiday of one religion's holy day?