Palm Sunday - the beginning of Holy Week
Palm Sunday is a Christian holiday that occurs on the Sunday before Easter. This celebration commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, mentioned in each of the four Gospels. Jesus entered the city knowing He would be tried and crucified and welcomed His fate to rise from the grave and save us from sin! Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, the remembrance of Jesus' last days.
In many churches, Palm Sunday is observed with the blessing and sharing of palm branches symbolizing the branches placed in front of Christ as he entered Jerusalem.
Palm Sunday began in the Jerusalem Church approximately the late third century. Observances consisted of hymns, prayers, and Bible readings as people travelled through the many holy places within the city. At the final place, the site of Jesus’ ascent into heaven, the ministry would recite the biblical passage of Jesus’ victorious entrance into Jerusalem. Then as dusk neared, the people would return to the city declaring: “Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 21:9).
This tradition continued until the sixth and seventh centuries when the ceremonial blessing of the palms was included. By the eighth century, a morning procession substituted the evening one and the Western Church was celebrating what we now know as “Palm Sunday.”