Sunday, March 28, 2010

Maundy Thursday

Why do we call the Thursday of Holy Week "Maundy Thursday"? What does Maundy mean? Someone asked me and, if I ever knew, I had forgotten.
So I looked it up: There are two theories: That "Maundy" comes from the Latin "mandatum" or commandment, because on this day of Holy Week Jesus told his disciples "A new commandment I give you - that you love one another." That's a good theory. But, unfortunately, it probably isn't correct.
The other theory, which has more to back it up, is that on Holy Thursday kings and queens (the royalty in England still does this, I guess) gave alms to beggars before they went to mass/church. Maunders= beggars. These gifts were given in little bags called maundy purses.
So unless we re-institute the custom of giving to beggars on our way to church, I think I'll start calling it "Holy Thursday" - like most of the rest of the world.

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