Exploring the Green Traditions of Maundy Thursday

Exploring the Green Traditions of Maundy Thursday
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Green Observances on Maundy Thursday: Unveiling the Meaning Behind the Color | Life & Knowledge

Maundy Thursday: What is actually green on this Thursday? | Life & Knowledge


Maundy Thursday, also known as Gründonnerstag in German, is a significant day in the Christian calendar that falls on the Thursday before Easter Sunday. While the name may suggest that something green is associated with this day, many people are left wondering what is actually green on this Thursday. In this article, we will explore the origins of Maundy Thursday, its religious significance, and why it is sometimes referred to as Gründonnerstag.

Origins of Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with his disciples. This event, as described in the Bible, took place on the night before Jesus was crucified. During the Last Supper, Jesus shared bread and wine with his disciples, instituting the ceremony known as the Eucharist. He also washed the feet of his disciples, demonstrating humility and servanthood.

Religious Significance

Maundy Thursday holds great religious significance for Christians around the world. It marks the beginning of the Easter Triduum, which includes Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Many churches hold special services on Maundy Thursday, reenacting the Last Supper and the washing of the feet. Some churches also participate in the tradition of foot washing as a symbol of humility and service.

Why is it called Gründonnerstag?

The term “Gründonnerstag” has its origins in the Middle Ages when a green soup was traditionally eaten on Maundy Thursday. This soup, known as “Gründonnerstagssuppe” or green Thursday soup, is made with a variety of green vegetables such as spinach, chard, and herbs. The green color of the soup gave rise to the name “Gründonnerstag” or Green Thursday.

Examples of Gründonnerstag Traditions

  • In some parts of Germany, it is customary to eat green vegetables on Maundy Thursday, such as spinach, lettuce, and watercress.
  • Churches in Germany may decorate their altars with greenery and flowers to symbolize new life and growth.
  • Some families may attend church services on Maundy Thursday and then have a special meal featuring green foods.


In conclusion, Maundy Thursday is a day of reflection and remembrance for Christians as they commemorate the Last Supper and the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The term “Gründonnerstag” is a nod to an ancient tradition of eating green foods on this day, symbolizing renewal and growth. Whether you celebrate Maundy Thursday with a bowl of green soup or a church service, the important thing is to remember the significance of this day and the message of love and humility it conveys.

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