Palm Sunday marks the last Sunday of Lent and the beginning of the week leading up Easter, a day to observe and remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For Christians, Palm Sunday is one of the most significant, and humbling, religious observations of the entire calendar year. Understanding the history of Palm Sunday, and the common activities of this important Christian day of observation, may work to further strengthen the spiritual being within us.
In Biblical history, Palm Sunday, also known as the Day of Passion, marks the day on which Jesus entered into Jerusalem to begin his passage into the week that would forever change his life and the life of Man. It was on Palm Sunday that people came in abundance to hear the preaching of Jesus and were amazed and awe by his Greatness.
Holy Week, beginning on Palm Sunday, is considered the most reverent and solemn period in Christian belief. It is common tradition, on Palm Sunday, for parishioners to engage in discussions involving the evangelistic approach of Jesus and restore, in themselves, their own spiritual awakening as they remember this last week of Jesus’ life.
It is on Palm Sunday that many church patrons engage in activities involving the exchanging of palm leaves. Palm leaves, used in Biblical times, were waived in excitement over the coming of Jesus and the anticipation of his messages, to be preached in Jerusalem. Today, Christians use Palm leaves as an offering of good will and to show victory over worldly events.
Because Palm leaves can be difficult to locate in certain areas of the United States, some church congregations will use silk plant leaves, or even substitute palm leaves with olive branches or pussy willows, as these also evoke a sense of peace and victory.
When Palm leaves can be used, they are traditionally formed into the shape of a cross and commonly displayed in homes and churches throughout the year. Then, in the following year, on Ash Wednesday, the dried Palm leaves are then burned in honor of the sacrifice and beginning of Lent.
No matter what your traditional practices in observance of Palm Sunday the focus of the day should be to remember the sacrifice and struggle of Jesus Christ, especially during this week leading up to the observance of the resurrection. While Easter is commonly the day most Christians observe the resurrection, paying honor and tribute to the Holy Week, beginning with Palm Sunday, may provide for a more spiritual uplifting during this most reverent religious event.