Easter Maundy Thursday Maundy Thursday: Why is the Thursday before Easter green?


Why is Maundy Thursday called Maundy Thursday?

The Thursday before Easter Sunday is called Maundy Thursday in Germany. But where does the name come from?

  • The exact origin of the name “Maundy Thursday” is not known. Today it is commonly assumed that the name Maundy Thursday derives from the Middle High German word “grînen”. That means something like whining or crying.
  • The explanation: On the eve of Good Friday, Jesus Christ celebrated the last supper with his disciples. That evening he was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, which is probably why there was a lot of weeping that day.
  • Another explanation goes back to the Latin word “virides” which means “the green ones”. In the Middle Ages, this was the name given to the penitents who, on the eve of Good Friday, were accepted back into the community of the church by the church’s penitential decree. They were given this name because the liturgical color green represents freshness, renewal and freedom from sin.

What happened on Maundy Thursday?

On Maundy Thursday we commemorate the Last Supper. Jesus celebrated the Lord’s Supper with his 12 disciples – later that evening he was betrayed by Judas Iscariot.

Is Maundy Thursday a public holiday here?

Maundy Thursday is not a public holiday in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. April 6th is therefore a normal working day for all employees.


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