What is Palm Sunday?
Palm Sunday celebrates the beginning of The Passion Week, which is known as the last week of the earthly existence of Jesus Christ.
As mentioned in all four Gospels, the holiday commemorates the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. Jesus approached the city, anticipating a trial and crucifixion. He even welcomed His fate to rise from the grave and save his disciples from worldly sin!
His disciples greeted him as King and Messiah as he entered the city by waving palm branches in tribute. The day is referred to as Palm Sunday for this reason.
Palm Sunday - All Quick Overview
- Where It’s Marked: The holiday is observed by Christians around the globe.
- Why It’s Marked: The day is the beginning of Jesus’ final week on earth.
History Of Palm Sunday
It's unclear when Palm Sunday was first observed. The festival started in Western culture in the ninth century. In Jerusalem, a palm processional ceremony was described in great detail in the fourth century.
Jesus knew his journey to Jerusalem would end with him dying on the cross for humanity's sins. Two disciples were sent ahead to Bethphage to find an unbroken colt.
People laid their cloaks on the colt's back when he was brought to Jesus. Jesus made his humbling entrance into Jerusalem while seated on a donkey.
The crowd gathered around him and started shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!Hosannain the highest heaven!"(Matthew 21:9, NIV)
Residents of Jerusalem were even throwing their cloaks in honor of Jesus Christ. Though they did not know the aim of Jesus' mission, they honored and worshiped him. Following the event, Jesus started counting his day on earth and his journey toward the cross.
How to Celebrate Palm Sunday
Christians commemorate Christ's atoning death on this day, praise God for His saving grace, and eagerly await the return of Christ.
Palm Sunday's typical observances, palm branches, are often given to worshippers at religious services. A play of Christ's entry into Jerusalem is performed; palm branches are carried and waved in procession; palms are blessed; traditional hymns are sung, and miniature crosses are made of palm fronds. Churches from all traditions, including Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Moravian, participate in the ceremony.
Though Palm Sunday is celebrated across the globe, the celebration can be unique in some countries! Let’s shed light on the most interesting ones:
1. Finland, Witches Roam Around!
Have you ever heard of witches participating in Christian holidays? No. They are not on fire! A little bit of Halloween is celebrated on Palm Sunday in Finland.
Children eagerly anticipate the celebration because it allows them to dress up as witches. The beginning of the Finnish Easter season is marked by small witches who want to bless each home.
2. The Netherlands, Candy Meets Rooster!
On Palm Sunday, candy is everything in the Netherlands. Do not worry. Here roosters do not eat candies! Rather, candies are prepared in the shape of a rooster. Crosses are decorated with candy in the form of roosters.
There are areas of the Netherlands where oil lamps steal the show. In honor of the Sorrowful Mother of Warfhuizen, also known as Our Lady of the Enclosed Garden, people parade around with oil lamps the evening before Palm Sunday.
3. Spain, Shop, Shop!
If you visit Spain on Palm Sunday, you might come across the saying that for people who do not buy something new on Palm Sunday, their hands drop off!
On Palm Sunday, it is customary in Spain to dress up. And the majority of people participate in processions that circle the town. In these processions, statues of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and other saints are paraded throughout the town. The rallies feature loud music and other impressive displays.
4. The Philippines, Bye Bye Evil Spirit!
There is no room for evil spirits in the Philippines on Palm Sunday! A statue of Jesus Christ riding a donkey and a priest on horseback is brought to recreate the story of Christ entering Jerusalem. For the statue or priest to walk on, town kids will dress up as angels and put flowers on the route.
The palm branches are brought home, and traditional music will play. It is thought to fend off any danger or malevolent spirits. In the past, cockfighting played a significant role in the culture. Later, it was dismissed as a custom.
Countries that Observe Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday is one of the most widely celebrated holidays. Christians observe it all over the globe.
Interesting Facts about Palm Sunday
There are so many references related to Palm Sunday. Some of them have also changed in modern times! Here are some facts you might not have known about Palm Sunday:
- Palm Sunday is also known as Passion Sunday.
- The story of Palm Sunday is described in all four Gospels of the Bible!
- Palm breaches symbolized victory and goodness.
- Messiah’s Donkey refers to someone doing the 'dirty work" on someone else's behalf!
- Pope Francis appealed for Easter Truce to Ukraine's war quoting, "May Jesus grant peace which has been wounded by the barbarity of war."
Unique Palm Sunday Celebration Ideas
One of the most well-known Christian celebrations is Palm Sunday. You can come up with unique ideas to make the holiday more special! Celebration ideas may differ from country to country. Some of the ideas might include:
- Decorate your house with palm fronds. You can create different designs and shapes commemorating the palm leaf used during the original Palm Sunday.
- Plan a get-together of your friends and family, gather everyone around, and recite the verses from the Bible about Palm Sunday.
- Arrange a cosplay competition, and get dressed as Jesus on a donkey!
Palm Sunday Quotes
Palm Sunday is a holiday that is rooted in ancient times. Both verses from the Bible and quotes regarding Palm Sunday make you think about the life of Jesus! Some quotes and verses are
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” - John 3:16
“Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' say, 'The Lord needs it.’ "- Luke 19:28-40
“Lord, we lift up your name. With hearts full of praise; Be exalted, O Lord my God! Hosanna in the highest!”- Carl Tuttle
1. Did the ‘Crucifixion of Jesus’ occur on Palm Sunday?
No! Palm Sunday represents Jesus's coming to Jerusalem, followed by his arrest on Holy Thursday and crucifixion on Good Friday.
2. What is the meaning of Hosanna?
The word Hosanna means "save us." The people of Jerusalem were crying "Hosanna" while Jesus was entering the city.
3. What does the Donkey symbolize?
According to Biblical references, the donkey symbolizes suffering, service, humility, and peace.
Palm Sunday Observances
|2021||Sunday||28 March||Palm Sunday|
|2022||Sunday||10 April||Palm Sunday|
|2023||Sunday||02 April||Palm Sunday|
|2024||Sunday||24 March||Palm Sunday|
|2025||Sunday||13 April||Palm Sunday|
|2026||Sunday||29 March||Palm Sunday|
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