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Maundy Thursday – how’is it celebrated and how did this Christian holy day start? [video]

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Maundy Thursday is also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Sheer Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries. It is celebrated by Christians all over the world, but Britain has some unique traditions connected with it.

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It is a Christian holy day that falls on the day before Good Friday

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It honours the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles in Jerusalem.

Maundy comes from the Latin mandatum, meaning command, used in the ceremony of the washing of the feet which forms part of some church services.

According to St John’s gospel, before the Last Supper Jesus washed his followers’ feet to show his humility.

He then said: “A new commandment I give unto you: that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Until 1689, there was am English custom of the monarch washing worshippers’ feet in Westminster Abbey. Food and clothing were also be handed out to the poor.

These days, the Queen attends a Royal Maundy service at one of Britain’s cathedrals or royal chapels.

The sovereign hands out “Maundy money” to pensioners from local communities. This is made up of coins that have been specially minted for the occasion – they are legal tender and are highly collectable.

In a tradition dating to the 15th century, as many elderly men and women as there are years in the Queen’s age receive the Maundy money.

This year, it has been confirmed that the Queen, who turns 92 next month, will attend a Royal Maundy service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.

92 men and 92 women will receive the Maundy money from Her Majesty.

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