Palm Sunday marks the day Jesus returned to Jerusalem. He rode into the city on a donkey, which symbolized that he was a king who came in peace. His faithful placed palm leaves in front of his path. In placing the palm leaves in front of Jesus, his believers demonstrated they accepted him as their redeemer. In the days to follow, Jesus would be betrayed, tried, and crucified before his divine resurrection.
The first day of Holy Week, Palm Sunday occurs on the final Sunday of the Christian religious observance of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday and leads up to Easter.
How is Palm Sunday celebrated?
Every culture and religion has their own traditions for Palm Sunday. For Catholics, palm leaves are typically given to parishioners prior to the start of mass. Many believers save, dry, and then braid the palm leaves. The braided leaves are placed on a crucifix on display in their home and then replaced the following year. The church also saves the palms and burns them in the following year to create the ashes used on Ash Wednesday.
Easter is the most important religious holiday in some Catholic countries such as France, Italy, and Spain. Palm Sunday marks the beginning of celebrations, and the faithful mark the occasion by wearing long robes and participating in candle-carrying processions. Palm Sunday scripture and relevant Bible verses are also traditionally read during these ceremonies.
What is the history of Palm Sunday?
Early Christians did not celebrate Easter. When they began marking Easter, they tied the celebration date to Passover because Jesus died during the holiday. This changed in the fourth century when Christian leaders began using the lunar calendar to set the holiday.