Translate Page

How did Maundy Thursday get its name?

Download Video

Why do we call the Thursday of Holy Week, "Maundy Thursday?" 

In this short video from The United Methodist Church, learn the history behind the phrase, which dates back to Jesus, as well as remembering the significance of the day and what it means as we live as Christ followers.


Do you know why we call Thursday of Holy Week “Maundy Thursday”?

The origin of the phrase goes all the way back to the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.

While in Jerusalem to observe Passover, Jesus gathered his disciples and washed their feet, teaching the disciples – and all of us – to serve others.

“A new commandment, I give to you,” Jesus said: “to love one another as I have loved you.”

The Latin word for commandment is “mandatum,” which became “Maundy” in English. This is why English-speaking countries call this day “Maundy Thursday” and why churches may hold a foot washing ceremony on this day of Holy Week.

Communion is often taken at Maundy Thursday services to commemorate the holy sacrament’s foundation that occurred at Jesus’ Last Supper.

Maundy Thursday may be a time of somber reflection as we contemplate the Holy Week events to come. The day is also a time to remember Jesus’ new commandment and to consider how we might show Christ’s love to the world.


If you have additional questions, Ask The UMC explains more about Holy Week, including a companion piece on how Maundy Thursday got its name.

Ask The UMC answers other questions about The United Methodist Church and faith-related topics. Check it out.

This video was produced by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tennessee. Contact is Joe Iovino.

This video was published on April 4, 2022. is a ministry of United Methodist Communications. For more than 80 years, we have been delivering messages of hope and leading the way in communications ministry. Join us in this vital work by making a tax-deductible donation at

United Methodist Communications is an agency of The United Methodist Church

©2023 United Methodist Communications. All Rights Reserved