Palm Sunday is a significant day on the Christian calendar, marking the start of Holy Week and the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem.
The day is observed by Christians from various denominations of the religion, including Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists and Presbyterians.
The practices of Palm Sunday, such as processions, singing and carrying palm leaves, can be traced back for centuries.
Here’s everything you need to know about Palm Sunday:
What is Palm Sunday?
Palm Sunday, otherwise known as Passion Sunday, is the first day of Holy Week – the last week of Lent which starts on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday.
The day celebrates Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem riding on a donkey days before he was crucified.
When is Palm Sunday?
Palm Sunday always falls on the Sunday before Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
This year, Palm Sunday is on April 14, Good Friday falls on April 19 and Easter Sunday is celebrated on April 21.
Why is it observed?
The day marks Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem riding on a donkey days before he was crucified, according to Christian teaching.
As Jesus approached Jerusalem, he told two of his disciples to go into a nearby village and bring a donkey on which he would ride into the Middle Eastern city.
The Bible states the messiah’s procession was welcomed by people waving giant palm leaves.
“They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!'” reads John 12:13.
How is it observed?
There are many traditions that take place on Palm Sunday but one of the most common is for individuals to give out or receive small crosses made from palm leaves, as a reminder of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem and his death on the cross, the Salvation Army states.
While some Christians keep these in their homes all year as a symbol of their faith, other congregations burn them at the end of the day and save the ashes to use on Ash Wednesday of the following year.
Processions symbolic of the one Jesus undertook are also commonplace on Palm Sunday, typically ahead of a church service.