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Maundy Thursday in the United States

Maundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, is a Christian observance in the United States. It is the day before Good Friday and takes place during Holy Week. It commemorates Jesus Christ’s last supper and the initiation of Holy Communion (the Eucharist), observed in many Christian churches.

Is Maundy Thursday a Public Holiday?

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

Maundy Thursday church services include the rite of Communion.

©iStockphoto.com/Wojtek Kryczka

What Do People Do?

Many Holy Thursday services, particularly in the Catholic churches, are held in the evenings and offer Communion (or Eucharist) to the congregation. Some priests or ministers wash parishioners’ feet in memory of the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. Holy oils are blessed to symbolize that the sacraments have their source in Jesus Christ, according to Christian belief. Hymns such as the Pange Lingua, Gloria, or Ubi Caritas, are usually sung in some church services during this time of the year.

Some churches offer a pot luck supper for congregation members after the Holy Thursday service. If donations are collected from the suppers, they usually go towards charitable causes. Holy Thursday serves as a time for some Christians to donate money to the poor.  Some people also prepare a meal that includes roast lamb, bitter herbs and wine around this time of the year.

Public Life

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

Background

Holy Thursday, or 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.

About Maundy Thursday in other countries

Read more about Maundy Thursday.

Maundy Thursday Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
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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