What is Maundy Thursday?
On this day, Jesus' last supper with his followers is remembered. The act of Jesus washing his followers' feet during the last supper is considered an extraordinarily humble deed of Jesus. It is perhaps what makes The Last Supper so memorable.
This holiday falls on the fifth day of the Holi Week leading up to Easter. The day comes after Holy Wednesday and is immediately followed by Good Friday. In Christianity, these times commemorate the circumstances that resulted in Jesus Christ's resurrection after the crucifixion.
Maundy Thursday All Quick Overview
- Category: Religious
- Where It’s Marked: Globally
- Why It’s Marked: This holiday commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples before his crucifixion.
History Of Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday is associated with one of the most historical moments. The accounts of the last supper mention the Passover meal at which Jesus gave the command, the washing of his disciples' feet, their prayers, and his eventual betrayal by Judas Iscariot. Jesus was abducted that evening, which resulted in his crucifixion.
In the Bible, there are numerous instances where Jesus is trying to impart a valuable lesson, often to his followers, with whom he spent most of his time. One of those instances is when Jesus washes His disciples' feet in the book of John. Back then, servants would typically perform this task.
The disciples would have been startled since they would not have anticipated someone like Jesus to act that way! Jesus does have a reason for washing the feet. The disciples would learn about the new way of life he would bring about through his death and resurrection.
During that dinner in the upper room, Jesus washed his followers' feet and taught them something unique: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. " (John 13:34).
Although the Gospel of John 19 NIV suggests that the Last Supper could not have been a Passover Feast, many interpreters agree with the Synoptic Gospels' version of events.
How to Celebrate Maundy Thursday
There are Maundy Thursday worship services held in many churches, but there is no set service format or way to honor this holy day. Along with attending church services, Christians worldwide commemorate and observe Maundy Thursday through several traditions. Some of the customs are listed below,
1. Feet Washing
On Maundy Thursday, the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church and members of several other Christian denominations perform a religious act called "foot washing."
Just as Jesus bathed the feet of his 12 Apostles at the Last Supper, it is customary in Christianity to wash the feet of 12 people. As a part of Maundy Thursday mass, the Pope and Archbishop wash the feet of 12 people.
2. Maundy Money
The distribution of Maundy Money, also known as Royal Money, is another long-standing custom associated with Maundy Thursday. Maundy Money was a particular kind of currency made for the occasion and distributed to a restricted group of older adults. Starting around the 18th century, kings would distribute Maundy Money instead of engaging in the customary foot-washing procedure.
3. Chrism Mass
Many Christian and Catholic churches hold a Chrism Mass on Maundy Thursday morning that includes the oils used for confirmations, holy orders, and baptisms. Churches can also have an evening liturgy on Maundy Thursday, which generally includes the customary ringing of bells.
4. Mystery of Unicorn
The Mystery of Unction is performed on Great Wednesday to prepare for receiving Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday. It is performed in the Greek tradition. This tradition dates back to when the Ottoman Empire ruled Greece, and parish priests were prohibited from hearing confessions because of their lack of education. So, this sacrament, thought to make people's sins go away, came to be done.
Countries that Observe Maundy Thursday
Christians celebrate Maundy Thursday all across the globe.
Interesting Facts about Maundy Thursday
The holiday of Maundy Thursday is not as well known as other holidays, but it comes with some interesting facts of its own! Let's check some out!
- Maundy Thursday is also famous in the name of Great Thursday, Thursday of Mysteries, and Holi Thursday.
- Maundy Thursday is referred to as "Green Thursday " in some german-speaking Europe." The term was derived from the tradition of eating food with a green hue on this holy day!
- On Maundy Thursday, Latin Americans customarily consume Jordan almonds, popularly known as "confetti."
- If the name “The Last Supper” reminds you of Vinci's The Last Supper, then you are not alone! Theologists believe the painting by Leonardo da Vinci is an exact depiction of the event!
Unique Maundy Thursday Celebration Ideas
Whereas almost everyone celebrates Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other extravagant Christian holidays, fewer individuals are aware of Maundy Thursday. And there is a great deal to discover about this distinctive Christian celebration. Here is a list of things you can do to celebrate this day:
1. Visit Churches
Some Catholics in major cities with lots of churches still follow the custom of going to seven churches on Maundy Thursday. If you have the means, you can observe the custom by going to the altars of repose in seven different neighborhood churches.
2. Wash Someone’s Feet
The Last Supper took place on Maundy Thursday, and it is the day that Jesus Christ washed his Apostles' feet. The purpose of the foot-washing ritual is to restore the purification that Christ provided while also encouraging humility. You can take part in this holy ritual to commemorate Maundy Thursday.
3. Help the Underprivileged
Any celebration is best celebrated by giving to the less fortunate! Giving Maundy Money to the less fortunate on Maundy Thursday is already a tradition. Uphold your Maundy spirit by helping those in need in your community!
4. Arrange a Community Supper
The Maundy Thursday menu can be Sader or non-Sader meals. Cook some delicious Maundy Thursday recipes, arrange a supper in your community remembering The Last Supper event of Maundy Thursday, and enjoy a happy meal with your friends and family!
Maundy Thursday Quotes
The event of Maundy Thursday can be associated with biblical and non-theological quotes. Here are some quotes about this holiday:
“When you look at the Crucifix, you understand how much Jesus loved you then. When you look at the Sacred Host, you understand how much Jesus loves you now.” – Blessed Mother Teresa
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” - John 3:16-17
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”- Jeremiah 29:11
1. Why do we call it Maundy Thursday?
The Latin word for “commandment” is mandatum, which is where Maundy Thursday gets its original root. The celebration takes place on the Thursday before Easter. That is why we call it Maundy Thursday.
2. Was the Last Supper a Passover?
It is believed that the Last Supper was a Passover, a ritual meal held in celebration of the Jewish holiday Passover.
3. What do people pray on Maundy Thursday?
The Maundy Thursday Prayer includes: (a) About the Eucharist, from the Didache (b)Prayer for Love (Anselm) (c) Prayer for Love (Cyril) (d) The Glory of Servanthood (Suter) (e) A Communion Prayer (Veit Dietrich) (f) Prayer for Cleansing (Origen) (h)Contemporary Closing Prayer for Holy Thursday (Stratman)
How is the word Maundy Thursday pronounced?
It is pronounced as “Mawn. dee thuhz.de.”
Maundy Thursday Observances
|2021||Thursday||01 April||Maundy Thursday|
|2022||Thursday||14 April||Maundy Thursday|
|2023||Thursday||06 April||Maundy Thursday|
|2024||Thursday||28 March||Maundy Thursday|
|2025||Thursday||17 April||Maundy Thursday|
|2026||Thursday||02 April||Maundy Thursday|
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