Maundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, Great Thursday, or Sheer Thursday, is celebrated on the Thursday during Holy Week before Easter in March or April. Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper and Jesus Christ’s washing of his disciples’ feet before giving the new commandment and is followed by Good Friday.
The English Word Maundy
The definition of Maundy is: a ceremony of washing the feet of the poor on Maundy Thursday.
The English word Maundy comes from the Latin word ‘mandatum’ meaning ‘commandment’ and likely refers to the instructions of the Lord on the night of his betrayal.
- Palm Sunday, commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
- Maundy Thursday remembers the Passover feast known as the Last Supper and Jesus’ institution of the Eucharist (also known as the Holy Communion, or the Lord’s Supper).
- Good Friday is a day of mourning and reflection on Jesus’ crucifixion.
- Holy Saturday is a day of waiting and anticipation, as Christians reflect on Jesus’ death and prepare for His resurrection.
- Easter Sunday is the joyful celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead on the third day. This event is the foundation of The New Testament and the Christian faith, and we rejoice and give thanks to God for His great love and mercy.
Maundy Thursday is observed in many different ways around the world, but one common practice includes eating a simple meal of bread and wine as an act of remembrance. Some may also partake of the Passover Seder.
What is the Passover Seder
The Passover Seder is an important ritual that is observed annually by Jews. The Seder is celebrated on the first night of Passover, which is a festival that celebrates the Jewish people’s liberation from slavery in Egypt. The name “Seder” means “order” and refers to the specific order of events that are followed during the ritual.
This relates to the Last Supper as it is widely believed the Last Supper was a Passover meal.
The Foot Washing Ceremony
Did you know that the act of washing someone’s feet is a sign of humility and service? It’s something that the Lord did for his disciples during the Last Supper, and it’s a tradition that is still observed today.
Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as a display of His humility and servanthood, this stunned his disciples as they believed they should have been the ones washing his feet. However, this is also a symbolic representation, by washing the feet of his disciples, he is also washing away their sins. A reminder that even if we achieve salvation through justification by faith, our journey is not over and we must still allow ourselves to be purged of sin.
What is the significance of the Last Supper for Christians?
The Last Supper is significant for Christians because it was the last meal that Jesus had with his disciples before he was crucified. In the Bible, Jesus says that the bread and wine are his body and blood, and that they will be eaten in memory of him. This sacrament, known as Communion, the Eucharist, or the Lord’s Supper, is a symbol of the Christian faith. For Christians, the Last Supper is a reminder that Jesus Christ died for their sins and that they can have eternal life through him.
The New Commandment
After washing feet, the Gospel tells us Jesus Christ gave his disciples the new commandment to “love one another.” This is the second greatest commandment after “loving God.” The new commandment to love one another is significant because it shows us how we are to live our lives as Christians. We are called to love others, even our enemies. This is not always easy, but it is what Jesus commands us to do.
Maundy Thursday Celebrations around the world
Around the world, we observe Maundy Thursday in many different ways. In some countries, it is a day of fasting and prayer. In others, it is a day of celebration and remembrance. Many churches and Christians have special Maundy Thursday services, including:
- Taking part in traditional processions or foot-washing ceremonies
- Spending time in private reflection and contemplation
- Choosing to give up certain foods or habits for the day as a form of self-denial
- Making a point of performing acts of service, such as helping those who are less fortunate
For example, in Spain, there is a traditional procession through the streets in which people carry statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. In Italy, special bread known as “pane di Pasqua” is baked for the occasion. And in the Philippines, people often visit many Christian churches while praying.
When is Maundy Thursday 2024
Maundy Thursday falls on Thursday, March 28th, 2024.
Maundy Thursday is a significant day in the Christian calendar, commemorating Jesus’ Passover meal with his disciples. It is a time for Christians to reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice and teachings. There are several traditions associated with Maundy Thursday, such as attending special church services, giving up certain foods or habits for the day, or performing acts of service. Regardless of how it is observed, Maundy Thursday is a day of significance for Christians all over the world.
Maundy Thursday is an opportunity for Christians to remember Jesus’ washing of his Disciples feet, and the sacrifice he made shortly after. To recommit themselves to following Christ’s example.
For the sake of clarity, Catholicism is the largest denomination of Christianity. While we generally try to speak of the Christian experience in our articles from a non-denominational perspective, Holy Week is celebrated by both Catholics and Christians, but predominately by Catholics. A non-denominational church may not celebrate Holy Week the same way a Catholic church might, but the themes and purpose of Holy Week are core beliefs of the Christian faith and important to recognize.