Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday)
Woodlands Junior School is in the south-east corner of England
Maundy Thursday 2012 falls on 5 AprilWhat is Maundy Thursday?
Maundy Thursday - also called Holy Thursday, is the beginning of the three day celebration of Easter - the most important time in the year for Christians. This period ('The Triduum') is one big celebration, remembering the last supper, the crucifixion and the death of Jesus, and the Resurrection to new life.
Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles.
The Last Supper
On this day, Christians remember the Last Supper. During the meal Jesus took bread and wine and shared them with his disciples. Christians continue to share bread and wine as part of their worship in church.
The Last Supper was probably a Passover meal – the meal which Jewish people share together to celebrate the time when God delivered Moses and the people from slavery in Egypt.
The night of Maundy Thursday is the night on which Jesus was betrayed by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane.
When is Maundy Thursday?
Maundy Thursday is the day before Good Friday. It is one of the lesser known days of the Christian calendar.
Maundy Thursday 2012 falls on 5 AprilWhat is the origin of the name Maundy?
The name 'Maundy' is derived from the Latin word “mandatum”, meaning a commandment. Jesus Christ, at the Last Supper, commanded:
'And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.' John 13:34
The washing of feetDuring the Last Supper, Jesus washed his disciples' feet. This act has sometimes been followed literally in history as a good way of reminding rulers that they are here to serve their subjects.
What once happened in England on Maundy Thursday?
In England, the custom of washing feet by the Monarch was carried out until 1689. Up until then the King or Queen would wash the feet of the poor on Maundy Thursday in Westminster Abbey. (You should, however, note that the feet were first washed by Yeoman of the Laundry before the monarch had to wash them and kiss them!). Food and clothing were also handed out to the poor.
Maundy Thursday CeremonyIn Britain today, the Queen follows a very traditional role of giving Maundy Money to a group of pensioners. The tradition of the Sovereign giving money to the poor dates from the 13th century, from the reign of Edward I.
At one time recipients were required to be of the same sex as the Sovereign, but since the eighteenth century they have numbered as many men and women as the Sovereign has years of age.
Every year on this day, the Queen attends a Royal Maundy service in one of the many cathedrals throughout the country. 'Maundy money' is distributed to male and female pensioners from local communities near the Cathedral where the Service takes place.