Today marks the fifth day of Holy Week, known as Maundy Thursday. 

The day, which occurs before Good Friday, commemorates the Last Supper and will be marked for the first time today by King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla at the Royal Maundy Service at York Minster.

Here are all the main things you need to know about the day.

What is Maundy Thursday?

Maundy Thursday marks the night of the Last Supper - the final meal Jesus shared with his disciples before he was crucified on what is now known as Good Friday.

Maundy Thursday takes its name from the Latin word ‘mandatum’ meaning commandment.

The Church of England explains during the Last Supper Jesus told his disciples: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” (John 13 v 34 –NRSV).

It is the last Thursday before Easter and is part of Holy Week celebrations.

Significant Holy Week dates

Holy Week in 2023 runs from Sunday, April 2 until Saturday, April 8.

Key dates include:

  • Palm Sunday - the start of Holy Week which commemorates Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem. 
  • Maundy Thursday - the Last Supper
  • Good Friday - the crucifixion of Jesus

Following the conclusion of Holy Week on Saturday, there is Easter Sunday, which marks the rising of Jesus, and Easter Monday. 

What happens on Maundy Thursday?

Jesus, at the Last Supper, got up from the table, poured a basin of water and washed the disciples' feet.

The significance behind this, The Chruch of England said, was this was the act of a servant.

He also told them to do the same for others. 

Many churches recreate this act at special services on Maundy Thursday "as a reminder of how Jesus served others and of how Christians should also serve others".

This is a practice that has been observed for centuries.

Another part of Maundy Thursday celebrations is the giving of money and gifts.

What is Maundy Money?

Bournemouth Echo: Maundy Money will be distributed to 74 men and 74 women at a ceremony at York Minster today.Maundy Money will be distributed to 74 men and 74 women at a ceremony at York Minster today. (Image: PA)

In England, this developed into what is called the Royal Maundy Service in which the monarch distributes special coins, known as Maundy Money.

King Charles III and Queen Consort, Camilla will this year attend the Royal Maundy Service at York Minster, their first of the King's reign.

The Church of England said 74 men and 74 women will receive the gift (Maundy Money) from King Charles III to thank them for outstanding Christian service and for making a difference in the lives of people in their local communities.