When is Maundy Thursday? Meaning behind Maundy Thursday and how it’s celebrated

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Maundy Thursday falls on the same date each year, marking the start of the long Easter weekend. The Christian event pays homage to Jesus Christ’s final meal, more commonly known as the Last Supper – but why is it called Maundy Thursday? How is it celebrated? These are the key facts you should know about Maundy Thursday.

When is Maundy Thursday?

Easter has almost arrived, and the Holy Week is officially underway.

On the Christian calendar, the week is comprised of five significant dates, including:

  • Palm Sunday
  • Holy Wednesday
  • Maundy Thursday
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Sunday

While many people are familiar with the biblical story of Good Friday and Easter Sunday, Maundy Thursday is one of the lesser-known dates which takes place during this sacred seven-day period.

This year, Maundy Thursday will take place on April 14, 2022 – just one day before the Good Friday bank holiday.

What is the meaning of Maundy Thursday?

Known as the third observance during the Holy Week, Maundy Thursday is widely recognised by Christians from all different denominations, most notably Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans and Methodists.

This date is symbolic of the day before Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross of Calvary for the sins of the world.

On this same day, Jesus Christ was believed to have endured the Last Supper with his fellow disciples, before making the “ultimate sacrifice” on what is now known as Good Friday.

Maundy Thursday is also significant for Jesus Christ’s show of humility when he washed the feet of one of his disciples.

While it may seem insignificant, the act of washing the feet of someone considered “below” him was to instil equality and compassion in his peers.

According to the Bible, he said: “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).

It is from this specific act that the holy date got its name.

The term ‘maundy’’ is a shortened version of the Latin word which stems from the modern verb ‘command’.

While the event is significant throughout the faith, only some Christians actively celebrate the event.

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How is Maundy Thursday celebrated?

The teachings of the Biblical story, which detail Jesus’s preparation for the ultimate sacrifice have inspired the main observances around Maundy Thursday.

Some priests wash the feet of church attendees on the date as part of their service, as a reminder of their Saviour’s actions.

Queen Elizabeth II also marks the date by giving out special commemorative coins known as ‘Maundy money’ – a tradition which dates back to medieval times.

While the service is returning this year, the Queen will send her eldest son, Prince Charles on her behalf instead.
He will be joined by his wife, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, who will both take the Queen’s place at St George’s Chapel.

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