Palm Sunday – Meaning, Facts, Observances, & Significance: Palm Sunday, also called Passion Sunday, in the Christian tradition, is the first day of Holy Week and the Sunday before Easter, commemorating Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It is associated in many churches with the blessing and procession of palms (leaves of the date palm or twigs from locally available trees). Palm Sunday is celebrated on Sunday, April 10, 2022.
These special ceremonies were taking place toward the end of the 4th century in Jerusalem and are described in the travelogue Peregrinatio Etheriae (The Pilgrimage of Etheria). In the West, the earliest evidence of the ceremonies is found in the Bobbio Sacramentary (8th century). During the Middle Ages, the ceremony for the blessing of the palms was elaborate: the procession began in one church, went to a church in which the palms were blessed, and returned to the church in which the procession had originated for the singing of the liturgy.
The principal feature of the liturgy that followed the procession is the chanting by three deacons of the account of the Passion of Christ (Matthew 26:36–27:54). Musical settings for the crowd parts were sometimes sung by the choir. After reforms of the Roman Catholic liturgies in 1955 and 1969, the ceremonies were somewhat simplified in order to emphasize the suffering and death of Christ.
The day is now called officially Passion Sunday. The liturgy begins with a blessing and procession of palms, but prime attention is given to a lengthy reading of the Passion, with parts taken by the priest, lectors, and congregation. The palms are often taken home by the members of the congregation to serve as sacramentals (sacred signs of the sacraments), and some of them are burned the following year to serve as the ashes for Ash Wednesday.
In the Byzantine liturgy, the Eucharist on Palm Sunday is followed by a procession in which the priest carries the icon representing the events being commemorated. In the Anglican churches, some of the traditional ceremonies were revived in the 19th century. The majority of Protestant churches, while celebrating the day without ritual ceremonies, give palms increasing prominence.
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, and 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
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.
FACTS ABOUT THE PALM THAT 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