How did Maundy Thursday get its name?

by UMC Article on March 28, 2024

Why do we call the Thursday of Holy Week, "Maundy Thursday?" 

In this short video from The United Methodist Church, learn the history behind the phrase, which dates back to Jesus, as well as remembering the significance of the day and what it means as we live as Christ followers.


Do you know why we call Thursday of Holy Week “Maundy Thursday”?

The origin of the phrase goes all the way back to the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.

While in Jerusalem to observe Passover, Jesus gathered his disciples and washed their feet, teaching the disciples – and all of us – to serve others.

“A new commandment, I give to you,” Jesus said: “to love one another as I have loved you.”

The Latin word for commandment is “mandatum,” which became “Maundy” in English. This is why English-speaking countries call this day “Maundy Thursday” and why churches may hold a foot washing ceremony on this day of Holy Week.

Communion is often taken at Maundy Thursday services to commemorate the holy sacrament’s foundation that occurred at Jesus’ Last Supper.

Maundy Thursday may be a time of somber reflection as we contemplate the Holy Week events to come. The day is also a time to remember Jesus’ new commandment and to consider how we might show Christ’s love to the world.

Tags: communion, christ, candles, video, thursday, tenebrae, holy week, maundy thursday, holy thursday


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