DID YOU KNOW . . . Maundy (Holy) Thursday

Today is the Christian holiday of Maundy or Holy Thursday, the holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter that commemorates the events of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the four canonical gospels.

For many Christian traditions this day initiates what is known as the Easter Triduum, the three day period which commemorates the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ. The liturgy in many Christian Churches involves a ceremony of the “Washing of the Feet” of designated individuals, referencing Jesus’ actions in the Gospel of John where he did such for his disciples during the Last Supper as related in the Gospel of John.

Use of the names “Maundy Thursday” versus “Holy Thursday” varies greatly according to denomination and tradition.

Most scholars agree that the English word Maundy is derived through Middle English from the Latin word “mandatum” (meaning mandate) which the first Latin word of the passage from John 13:34 where Jesus explained to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet. Others theorize that the word arose from the Latin word “mendicare” which means to beg, referring to the beggars and the poor who were traditionally remembered in special ways on this day.

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