Meaning of Holy Thursday (what it is and What is Celebrated)

As Holy Thursday is known the Christian holiday that celebrates the last supper of Jesus of Nazareth with his disciples, the institution of the Eucharist and the priestly orderas well as foot washing.

As such, all of Christendom, both the Catholic Church and the other Christian churches, commemorate Holy Thursday with processions and Eucharistic celebrations.

Holy Thursday takes place during Holy Weekthe Thursday before Easter or Resurrection Sunday.

With Holy Thursday Lent ends and the Easter Triduum begins, that is, the period in which the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus is remembered, which extends from Holy Thursday to Holy Saturday.

According to the Bible, two events of singular importance take place on this day: the Last Supper, where the Eucharist and the priesthood are instituted, and the washing of feet.

last Supper

On this day, then, the institution of the Eucharist is usually commemorated through the celebration of the Holy Offices, and the agony and prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane, in the garden of olive trees, the betrayal of Judas and the arrest of Jesus are remembered.

Last Supper

The last supper is the food that, in celebration of Easter, Jesus shared with his disciples. In it he instituted the Eucharist, also called communion, in which Christ leaves his body and blood transubstantiated into bread and wine.

Saint Luke, in the New Testament, relates it thus: “Then he took bread and, having given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying: ‘This is my body, which is given for you; Do this in remembrance of me’. Likewise, he also took the cup, after he had supped, saying: ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you’” (Luke, 22: 19-20).

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Feet lavatory

The washing of feet on Holy Thursday is called the event in which Jesus, as an act of humility, washes the feet of his disciples, in order to give an example of love and service to others. From there follows the commandment that Jesus made to his disciples: that they should love and serve one another.

Visit to the 7 temples

One of the customs associated with the celebration of Holy Thursday is the traditional visit to the seven churches or seven temples, which can be carried out between the night of Holy Thursday and the morning of Good Friday. Its purpose, as such, is to thank Jesus Christ for the gift of the Eucharist and the priesthood, which he instituted that night.

Maundy Thursday Monument

There is also the tradition of erecting the Holy Thursday monument, which is the chapel or altar where the consecrated host is reserved from Holy Thursday to Good Friday. Before him, thanks are usually given to the Lord for his passion, with which he redeemed humanity, according to the Scriptures.

See also:

  • Holy Week
  • Eucharist
  • Lent
  • Paschal Triduum