Maundy Thursday

Today is Maundy Thursday, which is a public holiday in most of the Nordic countries.

The people of Finland and Sweden do not enjoy a compulsory holiday; but it is a popular day to take off work to make a five-day weekend. Although today is a public holiday in Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland and Norway; many shops, restaurants and other public services will be open for some or all of the day.

Easter in the Nordic countries is not dissimilar to other Western nations — although as relatively few people go to church, it is as much a spring festival as a religious one. This is, of course, in keeping with Easter’s Pagan origin everywhere.

Pagans use their spring festival to celebrate new life and regeneration. Eggs, flowers and spring branches are traditional decorations which have been incorporated into the Christian festival of Easter, which commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday (tomorrow) and his miraculous resurrection on Easter Sunday. Maundy Thursday is a feast day in Western Christianity and commemorates Jesus’s Last Supper.