Holy Thursday - Dates, Meaning, and Traditions

17 Apr 2025

Date 2024

Thursday, 28 of March

Date 2025

Thursday, 17 of April

Official: Maundy Thursday
Others: Covenant Thursday Great and Holy Thursday Thursday of Mysteries
Spanish: Jueves Santo Jueves de la Última Cena Jueves de Semana Santa
Cross at Holy Week

Holy Thursday, also known as Moundy Thursday, marks the beginning of the longest holiday bridge of the year. Its date varies year by year as it depends on the lunar calendar. It is celebrated the Thursday before Easter Sunday.

Holy Thursday is one of the most important celebrations for the Catholic Church. During this festival, the Triduum of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ is opened, a ceremony divided into three major moments that ends on the Saturday night with the Easter Vigil.

What is Holy Thursday all about?

Holy Thursday centers around remembering Jesus' last supper with his disciples. At dusk on that day, Jesus celebrated the Passover, as was the custom. While they were eating, Jesus, presiding at the table, took some bread and wine and distributed it. He indicated that this bread was his body and the wine was like his blood, and that it would be poured out for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus, who already knew that he would be betrayed by Judas and then captured, demonstrated total confidence in his mission and what was to come: they would drink wine together again in the Father's kingdom.

Este gesto de Jesús se repite con especial solemnidad en la celebración del festivo de Jueves Santo. Se considera que ese día se instituyó la Eucaristía como el regalo de amor más grande de Dios.

This gesture of Jesus is repeated with special solemnity in the celebration of Holy Thursday. It is considered that on that day the Eucharist was instituted as the greatest gift of love from God.

In addition, on this day:

It is a solemn and joyful ceremony that concludes with a procession, accompanied by singing, of the priest carrying the ciborium with the Most Holy (consecrated host) to the altar of repose. People accompany with prayers to the altar.

The church altar is decorated with flowers or symbols such as the lamb, the boat, the light, the heart or biblical scenes. The priest places the ciborium inside the tabernacle and closes it. This is the sign that represents Jesus' agony and imprisonment.

Celebration and traditions

Although some places have larger and more traditional ceremonies than others, this day is widely celebrated by Catholics in all cities and towns in the country. Holy Week is a great Catholic celebration. Each church prepares its schedule and many people participate in the activities.

The most traditional celebrations are held in:

It is a tradition in some cities and towns to visit at least seven monuments as a count of the seven most difficult moments for Jesus (the passion) on his way to the cross.

The processions on Holy Thursday remember the prayer of Jesus in the garden, the betrayal of Judas and the arrest.

Holy Thursday in Mompox

Mompox is an island in the Magdalena River. In the colonial years it was an obligatory step between the Caribbean Sea and the interior. The city is a World Heritage Site and a National Monument. Holy Week in Mompox respects the oldest traditions learned during the Spanish colony, mixed with unique rituals. For example, the celebration begins on Wednesday night with a serenade for the deceased in the cemetery where families decorate the graves with flowers and candles.

On Thursday night, the procession of the "stolen step" leaves, which recalls the dispute and reconciliation of the religious orders of the city, in colonial times, to decide which would preside over which procession.

The music and the way of carrying the steps is the most characteristic of Holy Week in Mompox. These are marches, an aspect that makes them unique.

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