Palm Sunday is one of the most important traditions in Holy Week as Christians around the world prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter.
For most mainstream Christian denominations, Palm Sunday typically falls on the last week of Lent and a week before Easter.
Palm Sunday is a day for some Christians to practice spiritual reflection and recognize the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Most Christians observe the day by attending church services, praying, distributing or weaving palms in the shape of crosses, and attending feasts with family and friends.
What is Palm Sunday?
Palm Sunday, also known as Passion Sunday, is an important Christian tradition that celebrates Jesus entering the city of Jerusalem as depicted in the Bible.
The event occurred in the days leading up to the Last Supper and officially marks the beginning of Holy Week, when Christ was crucified, killed and resurrected from the dead, according to the Christian religion.
Palm Sunday occurs on the Sunday before Easter, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (iStock)
A week after Jesus performed one of his last miracles before his resurrection, the raising of Lazarus, he was greeted by a crowd of people waving palm branches as he entered Jerusalem for the final time.
The crowd recognized him as the Son of God and their Messiah.
Why is Palm Sunday celebrated?
Many mainstream Christian denominations, including Catholic, Methodist, Anglican, Orthodox and Lutheran, celebrate Palm Sunday.
The day is especially important in the Christian religion because it commemorates Christ entering the city of Jerusalem to meet his passion and face crucifixion and death before being resurrected and ascending into heaven.
For many Christians, Passion Sunday is a time to reflect on their relationship with Christ and their closeness with God and honor his sacrifice throughout Holy Week leading up to Easter.
In many Christian churches, Palm Sunday is marked by the distribution of palm leaves (often tied into crosses) to the assembled worshipers. (iStock)
Palm Sunday helps remind Christians to accept Jesus as the Son of God and savior.
The palms are sometimes folded into crosses and used as decorations.
The date of Palm Sunday often changes every year in order to correlate with the Jewish holiday of Passover.
What do the palms represent on Palm Sunday?
The most famous and paramount part of the celebration of Palm Sunday is the feasts, processions and handing out of palm leaves to churchgoers.
In Catholic churches, the palms are collected and burned to ashes for Christians to use as marking on their foreheads for next year during Ash Wednesday.
In addition, the palms are sometimes folded into crosses and used as decorations.
Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus Christ’s entry into the city of Jerusalem for the last time while riding on the back of a donkey. (iStock)
As Palm Sunday celebrates Christ entering the city of Jerusalem, the meaning of palms throughout the history of Christianity has symbolized the triumph of good over evil.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the Bible notes that his followers laid palm branches on the ground as he made his way through the city.
In ancient times, this custom was used to deem an individual a king or conqueror of a city.
What does the donkey symbolize on Palm Sunday?
When Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday with his followers, he did so riding on the back of a donkey.
Typically, when a king or conqueror entered a city, they did so on a decadent chariot or flamboyant horse; however, Jesus did so in a humble fashion despite the fact his followers recognized him as the Messiah and king of kings.
As mentioned in the Bible, Jesus entered the city riding a donkey to fulfill the Messiah prophecy, as depicted in Zechariah 9:9: “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Jesus instructed his followers to find him a donkey with a colt beside the animal so that the prophecy would be fulfilled completely.