Cuba's communist government has accepted Pope Benedict XVI's request and declared this year's Good Friday a holiday.

Good Friday is the day Christians commemorate the death of Christ and it falls on April 6 this year. In a meeting with President Raul Castro during his recent Cuban visit, Pope had made the request.

However, the communist regime will take a decision on whether to make it a permanent holiday later.

Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary leader and former president, abolished all religious holidays after 1959 communist revolution. However, he reinstated the Christmas holiday in 1998, responding to a similar request by Pope John Paul during a visit in 1998, Reuters reported.

Vatican welcomed the Cuban decision as a positive sign.

The Holy See hopes that this will encourage participation in religious celebrations and in happy Easter festivities and that in future, the visit of the Holy Father will continue to bear the desired fruit to the benefit of the Church and all Cubans, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi was quoted as saying by Reuters. 

People in Cuba have welcomed the extra day holiday.

After 50 years of telling us the Church is bad, now they say it is good and we get Good Friday off, said a office worker Mirta Salgado, according to the Associated Press.

The move is widely seen as an indication of improving relations between Cuba's communist regime and the Church.