Yesterday was Maundy Thursday. I had dinner with three British people and surprisingly, none of them was able to explain to me where “Maundy” comes from. I promised myself I’d look it up and promptly forgot. Thankfully, I’m spending Easter with my English family and so I turned to my father-in-law, who is my personal consultant for everything to do with Christianity. He’s been in the business for 40 years and helped me before with terminology related to church architecture.
He told me it comes from the Latin word Mandatum, which is the beginning of the sentence Jesus pronounced when he washed his disciples’ feet on the night of the Last Supper: Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos (“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you”).
In French, it is simply known as Jeudi Saint (Holy Thursday).
Now if you will excuse me, the hot cross buns are ready.
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