What is Maundy Thursday, and what does it mean? The significance of the Easter date is discussed, as well as why the Queen is not handing out money today
Christians all across the world are commemorating Maundy Thursday, one of the most important days of Easter’s holy week.
It is well known in the United Kingdom for the practise of the Queen presenting commemorative “Maundy money” to worthy older citizens on the day each year.
This year, however, Elizabeth II will be absent at the service, and her responsibilities will be performed by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.
But, exactly, what does Maundy Thursday imply? Everything you need to know about it is right here.
What is Maundy Thursday?
Maundy Thursday is the Christian ceremony of “Maundy Thursday,” which remembers the biblical tale of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, much to their dismay, during the Last Supper.
People wore open sandals and strolled on muddy streets at the period, therefore the lowest servant was generally the one to wash people’s feet.
His performance of the Maundy – which elicited a negative reaction from his followers – was thus a sign of humility and an appeal to his disciples to always treat each other as equals.
“If I, your Lord and Teacher, have bathed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet,” Jesus urged his followers, according to the Gospel of John.
“Because I have set an example for you, you should do as I have done to you.”
The knowledge that Judas would betray Jesus that evening, culminating to his arrest and execution, added to the poignancy of Jesus’ message.
What is Maundy money?
The principal observances of Maundy Thursday are inspired by the Biblical story’s lessons.
As part of their service, some priests wash the feet of churchgoers on this day as a reminder of Jesus’ acts.
Instead of washing people’s feet, the Queen commemorates the occasion by handing them special commemorative coins known as Maundy money, a mediaeval practise.
Every year, Queen attends the Royal Maundy Service at a different chapel in the United Kingdom, with the most recent one (because to the Covid-19 epidemic) being conducted in St George’s Chapel in Windsor.
The money is presented to persons who have made a substantial contribution to their local community or church, with a man and woman honoured for each year of the Queen’s reign.
Why isn’t the Queen at today’s Maundy Thursday service?
At today’s Royal Maundy ceremony at St George’s Chapel, Charles and Camilla will take the Queen’s seat.
The prince will fulfil the historic responsibility of presenting Maundy money to community stalwarts, according to Buckingham Palace, which announced on Friday that the head of state would not be attending the ceremony.
The Queen, who has been suffering from mobility concerns, was unable to attend the occasion and the heir to the throne was requested to stand in her place.
The monarch has been busy with virtual events and her other obligations as head of state, including attending a recent ceremony remembering the Duke of Edinburgh’s life.
The Queen Mother delivered the Maundy money on behalf of her daughter who was on tour in New Zealand in 1970, the fourth time a member of the royal family filled in for the Queen at the Royal Maundy service.
The Dean of Windsor, the Right Reverend David Conner, who delivered the address during Philip’s memorial service, will greet Charles and Camilla when they arrive at the church.
They will be given nosegays — sweet-smelling bouquets – as is customary, which were once used to fend off disagreeable scents during the ceremony.
Due to the pandemic, the service has been cancelled for the previous two years, and instead, the Queen wrote to Maundy money recipients who got the coins in the mail to thank them for their community activity that earned them nominations. This year, Charles will deliver the Maundy coins to 96 men and women, in honour of the Queen’s 96th birthday, which falls on April 21. Two handbags, one red and one white, are given to each recipient. The white handbag is stuffed with 96 pence worth of specially minted Maundy money – silver 10p and 3p coins. A £5 coin and a 50p coin depicting the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee are contained in the red purse.