The Thursday before Easter (March 24 this year) goes by several names. It’s known in England as Maundy Thursday, after the start of the reading for that day: “Mandatum novum do vobis (I give you a new commandment).” These are the words Jesus said to his disciples at the Last Supper (which was a Passover feast) while he was washing their feet.
In Trapani, Italy, people visit churches to see the lavureddi, sepulchres of green. Tiered altars are set up and covered with linen. Upon these are placed pots of wheat and lentils, grown in darkness so they develop straw-colored sprouts. These are said to represent new life growing in the darkness and to foreshadow Christ’s resurrection from the tomb. Continue reading