At National Today, things like triumphs and aspirations get our blood pumping and, this Palm Sunday, which falls on April 2 next, we are ready to welcome and celebrate the occasion. Palm Sunday is the beginning of Jesus’ final week on earth. It is not an official federal holiday, which means that businesses usually are open and running. However, since Palm Sunday falls on a weekend (the Sunday before Easter), it gives people enough time and space to celebrate it by going to church and indulging in other traditions. Each country has its own share of cultural influences on Palm Sunday’s celebrations. For example, in Latvia, Palm Sunday is celebrated as ‘Pussy Willow Sunday’ as these plants are used instead of the regular palm. What’s also interesting is that children are customarily woken up on the day with a swipe of the willow.
History of Palm Sunday
Marking the beginning of an end, Palm Sunday is, undoubtedly, an important day in the history of Christianity. Much can be said about the occasion, from its historical significance to what it has implied in religious terms and such. We take you back to those times when religious miracles abounded.
At its basic, Palm Sunday marks Jesus’ victorious entry into Jerusalem. He entered riding a donkey and the people welcomed him using palm fronds. They laid down the leaves (and their own cloaks too!) on the ground as Jesus entered the city. Some accounts also state that Jesus held some of the palm fronds in his hand and waved these as he passed by. Jesus’ return to the city also fulfilled Prophet Zachariah’s prophecy that the Messiah will return and bring glad tidings for Jerusalem’s people. When Jesus was entering the city, many also shouted, “Hosanna!”, which means “God saves” or “Save now”. The people saw him as the king and ruler of the city, many already aware of his being able to perform miracles like raising the dead and speaking during infancy.
There is also symbolism involved in Palm Sunday. Palms are considered as signs of peace and victory, and Jesus’ entrance being marked by these plants point towards the incoming peace and victories that the people were hoping for. Another symbol is the donkey, and during those times, warlords, bent on hostility, would ride in on horses. But, on the other hand, kings meaning well and peace would ride donkeys to indicate their gentle intentions.
Palm Sunday, which is also known as Passion Sunday, is followed by other important days like Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, with each of these holding special significance unto themselves. Many people celebrate Palm Sunday by visiting churches and reenacting Jesus’ entrance scene. They also take special care of palm fronds during this week as the leaves are considered sacred. The leaves are burned and used in ash form later on in the week.
Palm Sunday timeline
Jesus rides a donkey into the city of Jerusalem and is welcomed and cheered on by people who see him as their savior.
Many churches are against each other on celebrating Passover as a Jewish day, and things do not resolve themselves until the eighth century.
The explorer, Ponce de Leon, names Florida city, “Pascua Florida” (Spanish for Palm Sunday), after spotting the island from afar.
Efforts to fix a date for Palm Sunday are made, but nothing comes to fruition.
Palm Sunday FAQs
When was Jesus crucified in the Palm Sunday week?
Jesus was crucified on Good Friday. He was arrested and mocked a few days earlier. It is believed that he sacrificed himself for the sake of humankind.
Why is Easter significant to the Palm Sunday week?
Falling a week after Palm Sunday, Easter signifies the Resurrection or Rebirth day for Jesus. Many celebrate the occasion by using eggs, rabbits, and by welcoming spring.
Is it necessary to have a palm to celebrate Palm Sunday?
No, you do not need a palm to celebrate Palm Sunday. Whatever plant is local to your country or region, you can use it. For example, in India, people use flowers to commemorate the occasion, while in Italy, olive branches are used.
How to Observe Palm Sunday
Visit a church during Palm Sunday
You can visit a church and take part in/observe the celebrations. Each country has its own customs, so you can expect an array of different scenarios. In any case, it will be worth it as you will become part of the spirit of peace and gentleness.
Help out your friends with preparations
As with all important days, there are a ton of preparations to do and so little time to do them. Your friends would appreciate it if you lent a helping hand. Spirit of unity is another important part of Palm Sunday and, by helping out your friends, you are imbibing that very spirit.
Prepare/Learn about Palm Sunday week
Palm Sunday marks just one day of the important week ahead. There’s Good Friday and Shrove Tuesday, just to name a few. Each of these days, until Easter, relays the journey that Jesus went through.
5 Facts About The Palm That Will Blow Your Mind
Palm trees can be quite tall
Palm trees are some of the tallest plant species, growing up to 160–200 feet and giving competition to skyscrapers.
Holy in other cultures and religions
Apart from Christianity, palm trees are also considered symbolic in Islam with many in the Arabian countries giving importance to their fruit.
Palm trees can live for a century
It’s not just their heights that are lengthy but also their lives, as some palm species can grow to be centurions or even older.
Palms can live/grow in containers
You can grow your own palm inside a pot as these are quite versatile plants.
Not all palm fruits are edible
There are palm species whose fruit you cannot eat as they are poisonous and can cause fatal harm.
Why We Love Palm Sunday
It’s a celebration of peace and gentleness
In a world that is torn apart by violence and polarization, things like peace, calm, and gentleness are much needed. Palm Sunday allows us to take a moment to appreciate the gift of life and all that it has to offer.
It’s a celebration of hope and harmony
The people of Jerusalem had been waiting for generations upon generations for the Messiah to come. Prophet Zachariah’s prophecy took some time to happen, but it eventually did. Palm Sunday promises better times to come, always.
It’s a celebration of different cultures coming together
While Palm Sunday is a religious day with fixed standards in terms of importance, each culture celebrates the day with its own customs and traditions. It’s a sign of unity in all senses of the word — unity in togetherness and unity in uniqueness.
Palm Sunday dates