Maundy Thursday is the Thursday of the Holy Week and the last Thursday before the Easter Sunday. It precedes Good Friday. It is also called Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, and Sheer Thursday. Most Christian and Catholic countries celebrate Maundy Thursday as a holiday.
Maundy Thursday commemorates foot washing, also known as Maundy hence its name, and the last supper of Jesus Christ with his apostles. It usually falls on a day between March and April . The exact day varies per year depending on whether the Gregorian or Julian calendar is used for the calculation of the date. You can learn more about Maundy Thursday below.
What’s Maundy Thursday?
Maundy Thursday is the last Thursday before Easter. It is believed to be the day when Jesus celebrated with his apostles on his final Passover. According to the bible, this day is when Jesus showed his humility by washing the feet of his disciples and commanded them to do the same thing with each other.
Where Does Maundy Thursday Come From?
On one hand, the origin of the Maundy Thursday celebration came from some historical records and also the bible. On the other hand, the name Maundy Thursday came from the Latin word mandatum which translates into mandate in English, and in turn means command. It is said that during this day, Jesus told his disciples:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).
When is Maundy Thursday?
Maundy Thursday will be held on 14 April Maundy this year. It will be followed by Good Friday.
How Maundy Thursday is Celebrated
Many Christian, Catholic, and Anglican churches continue to celebrate Maundy Thursday as an integral part of the Lenten season or the holy week. Since one of the commemorations of the day is the washing of the feet of disciples by Jesus, churches conduct feet washing and the blessing using the holy water as part of the Maundy Thursday church service. More specifically, there are some churches conducting the feet washing of 12 people by a priest to symbolize the feet washing activity done by Jesus Christ for his 12 disciples.
Some people celebrate Maundy Thursday by helping the poor and the elderly. They give coins called Maundy Money to help these kinds of people. Some people celebrate the day by fasting wherein they restrain themselves from eating meat especially pork.
Many countries especially those that are predominantly Christian and Catholic declare Maundy Thursday as a national public holiday along with Good Friday. The consecutive days off give a lot of people the opportunity to go on a long vacation with their families and friends to some places where they can unwind.
Visitation of the Seven Churches
One common practice during the Maundy Thursday is the visitation of seven churches. During this day, some people, especially those from Rome, visit seven different churches as part of a way of celebrating Maundy Thursday. Other people take it some notches up by going to fourteen different churches – twice as that of visiting seven churches. Each of these church display the Stations of the Cross. in the Philippines, this tradition is called the Visita Iglesia which is a Spanish term for church visit.
How to Celebrate Maundy Thursday at Home?
Unfortunately, there are some people who cannot go outside their home to be able to celebrate Maundy Thursday. Some of these people may include some full-time housewives, some elderly, and some people with disability. if just like these people, you cannot celebrate Maundy Thursday outside your home, then a very simple way to do so would be to share some bible verses or quotes about Maundy Thursday to your loved ones and family members.
Symbols of Maundy Thursday
The first main symbol of Maundy Thursday is the washing of the feet by Jesus Christ for his disciples. Another main symbol is the Last Supper, which has been depicted in numerous paintings all over the world. Many people start to see the Stations of the Cross and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as symbols of this day as well. However, these two are actually the main symbols of the next day which is Good Friday.
It depends on the place or country. There are some countries such as the Philippines that celebrate Maundy Thursday ,Black Saturday , Good Friday Easter Sunday , as a regular non-working holiday. This means that many businesses and companies will be closed during this day, and that includes banks. However, take note that Maundy Thursday is not a holiday for those countries that do not celebrate the holy week.
Is Maundy Thursday a Day of Obligation?
Many Catholics and Christians are actually confused about this. Yes, Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday is a sacred day for Catholics and Christians alike and so they are encouraged to attend mass, but it is actually nor included in the six Holy Days of Obligation. Hence, you should not get confused with that as well.
Is Maundy Thursday a Regular Holiday?
Similar to what was mentioned above already, whether Maundy Thursday is a regular holiday or not depends on the specific area or country. If a country’s dominant religion is Christianity, chances are Holy Thursday will be a regular holiday so there will be no school or government office and most businesses and companies will be closed during the day. Some countries that declare Maundy Thursday as a public holiday are the Philippines, Guatemala, Colombia, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Argentina, Ireland ,Peru, Spain, Paraguay, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Uruguay.
Is Maundy Thursday Part of Lent?
Yes, Maundy Thursday is indeed part of the Lent. The Lenten season is actually called the holy week. After Maundy Thursday, Good Friday follows wherein the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is commemorated. This is followed by Black Saturday and finally by Easter Sunday.
There is no requirement about fasting during Maundy Thursday. However, most Christians and Catholics do in fact fast during Maundy Thursday as well as the succeeding days of the holy week. These people believe that fasting helps them empathize with the sorrowful event of the day.
Bible Verses for Maundy Thursday
Christians and Catholics usually share bible verses specific about Maundy Thursday during this day. Some of these verses are given below. You may want to use these verses to remind your friends and loved ones about the day and also to show that you are one of the people celebrating this day.
- “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” – John 13:2-17
- A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. – John 13:34
- And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. – Luke 22:19-20
- A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. … – Psalm 23: 1-6
- Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover. When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” … – Matthew 26:17-30
Maundy Thursday Quotes
- Earth’s saddest day and gladdest day were just three days apart! — Susan Coolidge, author
- The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love; It signifies Love, it produces Love. — Saint Thomas Aquinas
- 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
Maundy Thursday Messages
- As he bathes our feet and feeds us with his very self he simply asks us: Let me love you. Happy Holy Thursday.
- Happy Holy Thursday, everybody! Hope you all have a safe and joyous Easter weekend!
- May on this Maundy Thursday we start it with fasting and Prayers so that we can bring God’s mercy and forgiveness on all mankind. Let’s Pray together.
Happy Maundy Thursday Prayers Greetings
- Blesses Holy Thursday. For me, this is sadder than good Friday. This is the time when Jesus offered himself as the lamb at the last supper.
- Today is Holy Thursday, we commemorate the Last Supper within hours Judas betrays Jesus. God bless you.
- Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. Happy Holy Thursday.