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Maundy Thursday in Australia

Maundy Thursday is a Christian observance in Australia. The day, also known as Holy Thursday, occurs during Holy Week and falls on the Thursday before Good Friday. It commemorates Jesus Christ’s last supper and the initiation of the Eucharist, which is observed in many Christian churches.

Is Maundy Thursday a Public Holiday?

Maundy Thursday is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

Communion elements of grapes, cup, bread, and wheat

The Eucharist (or Communion) is offered at Maundy Thursday church services.

©iStockphoto.com/Wellford Tiller

What Do People Do?

Many churches, particularly Catholic churches, offer services that include the blessing of oils, feet washing and Communion (or Holy Eucharist). Many services are held in the evenings and some services focus on story-telling about the events that occurred prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection. Some churches offer communal meals after the service. A silent watch or prayer vigil may also be observed.

Many Australians start preparing for the Easter long-weekend break. Some families purchase hot cross buns or chocolate Easter eggs as a treat for their children. Many people start preparing for trips away in the countryside or hinterlands, or beaches that offer a quiet retreat. Byron Bay, in northern New South Wales, is a popular retreat around this time of the year.

Public Life

Maundy Thursday is not a public holiday in Australia so schools, government offices and businesses are open. Public transport providers run to their usual schedules.

Background

Maundy Thursday commemorates the institution of the Eucharist, a Christian sacrament that involves consecrating (or making holy) bread and wine. The term “Maundy” derives from the Latin word for “commandment”. The New Testament in the bible describes events that took place on Holy Thursday. These events include Jesus washing his disciples’ feet and the Last Supper before he was arrested.

Many Maundy Thursday church traditions come from practices that took place in Europe for many centuries. Since the time of the British settlement in Australia in the 18th century, many Europeans who moved to Australia took with them their customs and traditions, including Christian observances such as Maundy Thursday.

About Maundy Thursday in other countries

Read more about Maundy Thursday.

Maundy Thursday Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015ThuApr 2Maundy ThursdayChristian
2016ThuMar 24Maundy ThursdayChristian
2017ThuApr 13Maundy ThursdayChristian
2018ThuMar 29Maundy ThursdayChristian
2019ThuApr 18Maundy ThursdayChristian
2020ThuApr 9Maundy ThursdayChristian
2021ThuApr 1Maundy ThursdayChristian
2022ThuApr 14Maundy ThursdayChristian
2023ThuApr 6Maundy ThursdayChristian
2024ThuMar 28Maundy ThursdayChristian
2025ThuApr 17Maundy ThursdayChristian

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