What Does Maundy Mean in Maundy Thursday

Discover the meaning of ‘maundy’ in Maundy Thursday and its significance in the Christian tradition. Learn about the origins, symbolism, and traditions associated with this important day.


Maundy Thursday is a significant day in the Christian calendar, marking the last supper of Jesus Christ with his disciples. But what does the term ‘maundy’ actually mean and signify on this day?

Origin of the Word ‘Maundy’

The word ‘maundy’ comes from the Latin word ‘mandatum,’ which means mandate or command. This refers to the commandment given by Jesus to his disciples during the last supper, to love one another as he had loved them.

Symbolism of Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is a day of reflection and remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice. It symbolizes humility, service, and love for others, as demonstrated by Jesus washing the feet of his disciples as a sign of servanthood.

Maundy Thursday Traditions

One of the traditional customs observed on Maundy Thursday is the washing of feet, where clergy or church leaders wash the feet of members of the congregation. This act symbolizes humility and service, following Jesus’ example.

Another tradition is the giving of alms or charitable acts, representing the act of love and service towards those in need. In some churches, Maundy Thursday services also include the sharing of bread and wine, commemorating the last supper of Jesus.

Significance of Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday holds great significance for Christians as it marks the beginning of the Easter Triduum, leading up to the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday. It serves as a reminder of the love, sacrifice, and teachings of Jesus, inspiring believers to follow his example of humility and service.

Examples of Maundy Thursday Observances

  • In the Catholic Church, the Pope traditionally celebrates Maundy Thursday by washing the feet of twelve people, representing the twelve apostles, in a gesture of humility and service.
  • Some Protestant churches hold foot washing ceremonies, where members of the congregation take turns washing each other’s feet as a symbolic act of humility and service.
  • In some countries, it is customary to perform acts of charity and kindness towards the less fortunate on Maundy Thursday, following the example set by Jesus.


Maundy Thursday is a day of reflection, humility, and service, reminding Christians of Jesus’ commandment to love one another and serve others. It is a time to reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus and to recommit to living out his teachings of love and compassion towards all. As we observe Maundy Thursday, may we be inspired to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, showing love and kindness to those around us.

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