Holy Thursday is commemorated annually on the Thursday before Easter and takes place on April 6 this year. Its name varies, also being called Maundy Thursday, Green Thursday (in Germany), or Sheer Thursday. It is a catholic cultural holiday where Christians commemorate the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with his disciples, as observed in the “Bible.” Although the remembrance of the Last Supper is done at every other Mass, Holy Thursday is a day specially dedicated to this biblical event and spiritual significance. This is the day for Christians to recognize that Jesus was betrayed and then crucified the next day.
History of Holy Thursday
Holy Thursday is part of the holy week, a religious event that falls between March 19 and April 22, varying on a special calendar adopted by the Church. It comprises seven days before Easter Sunday. Throughout the week, Christians all over the world partake in special ceremonies and reenact specific rituals to commemorate the action and words of Jesus Christ during his last week before his crucifixion.
Holy Thursday is also called Maundy Thursday. The term ‘Maundy’ is derived from the Latin word ‘mandatum,’ meaning ‘mandate’ and signifying the new mandate (‘commandment’) Christ gave to his followers instructing them to love each other. The present celebration of Holy Thursday dates back to Pope Pius XII’s reformation of the Holy Week liturgy in 1955.
Since the celebration of Holy Thursday in 1956, two church services have been held. One is the ‘Chrism Mass,’ usually held in the morning. The bishop or priest blesses holy oils called the ‘Chrism,’ which is used in sacraments like baptism. The other service is normally held in the evening, this is the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, whereby the priest performs the washing of feet rite in memory of Christ’s washing of the feet of his 12 disciples. This ceremony did not initially involve women, but in 1987 women in the United States received formal inclusion, and since then people allowed to partake in this tradition have diversified.
Holy Thursday timeline
Many cultures begin celebrating Holy Thursday as a public event.
Pius XII's reforms the Mass of the Lord's Supper.
Christians celebrate Holy Thursday in a new manner.
Women in the U.S. receive formal inclusion in the foot-washing ceremony.
Holy Thursday FAQs
What is the greatest holy day of the entire year?
According to most Christians, the Feast of Resurrection is the most important and the greatest in a liturgical year.
What is the color for Holy Thursday?
Red is the color of Holy Thursday. This is the color that represents passion, devotion, and blood.
Why is the Easter Triduum important to Catholics?
That’s because the Easter Triduum signifies the suffering, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
How to Observe Holy Thursday
Attend a church service
You can observe this event by attending the Chrism Mass held at the chapel in the morning, or the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. You can also take out time to say the rosary.
Have a special memorial dinner
You can observe by dressing up nicely, setting the table with care, and then sitting to eat the special dinner you have prepared for the occasion. You can have this dinner with family and friends or by yourself.
Wash each other’s feet
You can show humility by imitating Christ’s act of washing the feet of his disciples. Members of the family can celebrate by washing each other’s feet.
5 Interesting Facts About Jesus
He was an average Middle Eastern man
For many anthropologists, Jesus was a typical Middle Eastern man of average height with brown eyes, black hair, and olive skin.
Jesus liked praying alone
Jesus enjoyed praying and spending his time alone at the Eremos cave.
Jesus had siblings?
The gospels of Matthew and Mark mention the “brothers of the Lord” and sisters as well.
Only three people fasted for 40 days
Jesus, Moses, and Elijah were the only ones able to endure hunger for 40 days.
Women witnessed the risen Christ first
His mother Mary and Mary Magdalene were some of the first people to see Jesus coming back to life.
Why Holy Thursday is Important
An opportunity to express our love for our faith
Holy Thursday gives us a chance to show our love and devotion to Christ. We get to show we value his teachings and will keep remembering them.
Holy Thursday strengthens the Christian community
Events like Holy Thursday help to strengthen the Christian community and build bonds within members as Christ had wanted. Thus, we must keep celebrating this event.
A chance for evangelism
Holy Thursday provides an opportunity for evangelism. It is an occasion to talk to more people about our faith.
Holy Thursday dates