Orthodox Palm Sunday is annually observed on the Sunday before Easter. This year, it takes place on April 9. It is the first day of the Holy Week — known as the last week of Lent — and commemorates Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Churches distribute palm branches to congregations during Palm Sunday liturgies, representing the palm branches scattered before Christ by the people of Jerusalem upon his entry into the city.
History of Orthodox Palm Sunday
Orthodox Palm Sunday is one of the most joyous feasts of the year celebrated by the Orthodox Church. The holiday serves as a reminder and a way to honor Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. It is also an opportunity to share stories about Jesus, his life, his journey to Jerusalem, and his reception by the city’s people.
About 2,000 years ago, the people of Jerusalem heard of the miracles Jesus had performed. So, when he arrived at the city’s entrance on the back of a young donkey, they honored him by shouting praises and spreading palm branches before him. As a result, the day of this entry into Jerusalem became known as “Palm Sunday.” Churches and Christian homes are filled with palm branches to honor Christ on the holiday. People celebrate the holiday with joy but with the awareness that sadness is soon to come.
Moreover, masses are held to deliver teachings of the works of Jesus. People learn all about his works on Earth, the miracles he performed, and the story of Easter. Easter is the period of Christ’s death — when he was killed, buried, resurrected, and became a true martyr. It has been celebrated annually all over the world as a way to remember and honor the sacrifices of Christ.
Orthodox Palm Sunday timeline
Jesus is born in a town called Bethlehem.
Jesus is baptized in the Jordan River.
Jesus performs miracles like healing the sick and raising the dead.
Pontius Pilate orders Jesus to be crucified.
Orthodox Palm Sunday FAQs
What if I don’t have palms?
If palms are not available to you, you can use branches of other trees.
When was Jesus arrested?
Jesus was arrested on Holy Thursday after the Last Supper.
Is there fasting during Lent?
Lent is a period of fasting observed by Christians where they remember the events leading up to Christ’s death. During this period, Christians do not eat meat, pray constantly, and remember the Lord.
How to Observe Orthodox Palm Sunday
You can attend a church service or go to Mass to observe Orthodox Palm Sunday. You'll learn about Christ’s life and his teachings.
Hang a palm
To observe Orthodox Palm Sunday, you can hang a palm branch in your home, office, or car. It is a symbol that honors Jesus.
Learn about Jesus
Conduct some research about Jesus and learn who he was. Find out his thoughts, teachings, and why the people of Jerusalem loved him.
5 Facts About Orthodox Palm Sunday
It has other names
Orthodox Palm Sunday can also be referred to as Passion Sunday or Branch Sunday.
It is part of Lent
The holiday is considered the first day of the last week of Lent.
It is a day of peace
Orthodox Palm Sunday is a day of peace and remembrance.
It has a color
The holiday is represented by the color red.
It gives importance to donkeys
Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to show his peaceful intentions.
Why Orthodox Palm Sunday is Important
It brings awareness
The holiday teaches people about the significance of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. It makes them aware of Christ’s teachings and life.
It keeps faith alive
Orthodox Palm Sunday keeps Christian teachings and traditions alive. It ensures people remember the works of Christ.
It creates unity
The holiday brings a lot of people together in remembrance of Christ and the teachings he brought to his people. Orthodox Palm Sunday congregations unify people and help them commemorate the Son of God.
Orthodox Palm Sunday dates