What does Gründonnerstag mean in Austria?

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Searches for the word 'Gründonnerstag' spiked overnight due to eastern Austria's lockdown - but what exactly does the term mean?

Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober referred to “Gründonnerstag” as the starting day for restrictions in the east Austrian states of Vienna, Burgenland and Lower Austria on Wednesday night.

The declaration sent many people scrambling for the internet to try and work out what exactly ‘Green Thursday’ meant – and when it was. 

Exponentieller Anstieg bei #Gründonnerstag Suchanfragen auf Google pic.twitter.com/NQ3stJRc4D

— Radio FM4 (@radiofm4) March 24, 2021

Austria’s FM4 station posted this image joking the use of the word had prompted a spike in Google searches for “Gründonnerstag” as the rest of the world tried to work out what exactly Anschober was talking about. 

Contrary to popular belief it is not another word for April’s Fools Day in Austria, but the German term for Maundy Thursday.

Maundy Thursday is a religious day which commemorates Jesus Christ’s last supper with his disciples.

It is celebrated on the Thursday before Good Friday each year – meaning that this year’s date of April 1st is purely a coincidence. 

While in many cultures it is little known, in Austria the day retains a special significance. 

It is traditional to eat spinach and other green foods such as kale, herbs or salads  on this day, hence the name.

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