The Customs of Easter

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is the day when maunds, or gifts, are given to the poor after a ceremonial foot washing. The foot washing ceremony is no longer as widespread as it used to be; but, at one time, kings and other royalty would wash the feet of the poor before bestowing gifts on them. Priests also would wash the feet of at least 12 of their parishioners, and the pope would wash the feet of 13 priests. While foot washing is no longer in vogue, the giving of gifts to the poor whether through the church or other agencies still goes on.