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Maundy Thursday falls on the Thursday of Holy Week. The exact date changes, depending on the date of Easter. It commemorates the Last Supper, the final meal that Jesus ate with his disciples. At this meal, Jesus talked to them about what was going to happen and prayed with them. He then washed their feet.
The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin word “mandatum”. This means a command, and it is because Jesus gave instructions to his disciples at the Last Supper.
In the Vatican, the Pope (the leader of the Roman Catholic Church) washes the feet of 12 people in a ceremony to mark the occasion.
In the UK, the monarch marks the day by taking part in the ceremony of the Royal Maundy, where coins are distributed to older people to recognise their contribution to their community. This tradition dates back to 600AD. Special coins are used, and each recipient is given a red and a white leather purse with the coins in.
This video shows the distribution of the Maundy Money in 2018.
Teaching Ideas and Resources
- Design some coins that could be used for Maundy money.
- Listen to the section of the bible that describes Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, and discuss what happened.
- Look at da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper, and talk about what you notice in the painting.
- Use the matching activity in our Easter Pack to learn more about Maundy Thursday and other important Easter days.