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Palm Sunday is a Christian
moveable feast A moveable feast or movable feast is an observance in a Christian liturgical calendar, borrowed from the Hebrew Lunisolar calendar, which therefore occurs on a different date (relative to the Roman Civil calendar, civil or solar calendar) in diffe ...
that falls on the
Sunday Sunday is the day of the week between Saturday and Monday. In most Western countries, Sunday is a day of rest and a part of the Workweek and weekend, weekend, whereas in much of the rest of the world, it is considered the first day of the week. ...

Sunday
before
Easter Easter,Traditional names for the feast in English are "Easter Day", as in the ''Book of Common Prayer''; "Easter Sunday", used by James Ussher''The Whole Works of the Most Rev. James Ussher, Volume 4'' and Samuel Pepys''The Diary of Samuel Pe ...

Easter
. The feast commemorates Jesus'
triumphal entry into Jerusalem In the accounts of the four canonical Gospels, Jesus Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem took place in the days before the Last Supper, marking the beginning of his Passion (Christianity), Passion, his time of suffering, death, and resurrect ...

triumphal entry into Jerusalem
, an event mentioned in each of the four
canonical Gospels Gospel originally meant the Christian message ("the gospel"), but in the 2nd century it came to be used also for the books in which the message was set out. In this sense a gospel can be defined as a loose-knit, episodic narrative of the words an ...
. Palm Sunday marks the first day of
Holy Week In some traditions of , Holy Week (: or , 'Greater Week'; el, Ἁγία καὶ Μεγάλη Ἑβδομάς, translit=Hagia kai Megale Hebdomas, lit=Holy and Great Week) is the most sacred week in the Church year. In Eastern Rite Churches ...

Holy Week
. For adherents of
Nicene Christianity The original Nicene Creed (; grc-gre, Σύμβολον τῆς Νικαίας; la, Symbolum Nicaenum) was first adopted at the First Council of Nicaea, which opened on 19 June 325.''Readings in the History of Christian Theology'' by William Car ...
, it is the last week of the Christian solemn season of
Lent Lent (Latin: ''Quadragesima'', 'Fortieth') is a Solemnity, solemn religious moveable feast#Lent, observance in the Christian liturgical calendar commemorating the Temptation of Jesus, 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert, according to the ...

Lent
that precedes the arrival of
Eastertide , which symbolizes the empty tomb The empty tomb is the Christian tradition that on the morning of the first day of the week (Easter Sunday Easter,Traditional names for the feast in English are "Easter Day", as in the ''Book of Common Pra ...
. In most liturgical churches, Palm Sunday is celebrated by the blessing and distribution of palm branches (or the branches of other native trees), representing the palm branches which the crowd scattered in front of Christ as he rode into
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
. The difficulty of procuring palms in unfavorable climates led to their substitution with branches of native trees, including
box A box (plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version ...

box
,
olive The olive, botanical name ''Olea europaea'', meaning "European olive", is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodivers ...

olive
,
willow Willows, also called sallows and osiers, from the genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining ( ...

willow
, and
yew Yew is a common name given to various species of trees. The name is most prominently given to any of various coniferous Conifers are a group of cone-bearing seed plants The spermatophytes (; ), also known as phanerogams (taxon Phanerogamae ...

yew
. The Sunday was often named after these substitute trees, as in Yew Sunday, or by the general term Branch Sunday. In Syriac Christianity it is often called as Oshana Sunday or Hosanna Sunday based on the biblical words uttered by the crowd while Jesus entered
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
. Many churches of mainstream
Christian denominations Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian'' derive from the Koi ...
, including the Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Anglican, Moravian and Reformed traditions, distribute palm branches to their congregations during their Palm Sunday liturgies. Christians take these palms, which are often blessed by clergy, to their homes where they hang them alongside
Christian art Christian art is sacred art which uses themes and imagery from Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-or ...
(especially
crosses
crosses
and
crucifix A crucifix (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the R ...

crucifix
es) or keep them in their Bibles or devotionals. In the period preceding the next year's Lent, known as
Shrovetide Shrovetide, also known as the Pre-Lenten Season or Forelent, is the Christian period of preparation before the beginning of the liturgical season The liturgical year, also known as the church year or Christian year, as well as the kalendar, ...
, churches often place a basket in their
narthex The narthex is an architectural element typical of Early Christian art and architecture, early Christian and Byzantine architecture, Byzantine basilicas and Church architecture, churches consisting of the entrance or lobby (room), lobby area, loca ...

narthex
to collect these palms, which are then ritually burned on
Shrove Tuesday Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday Ash Wednesday is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Je ...
to make the ashes to be used on the following day,
Ash Wednesday Ash Wednesday is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' an ...

Ash Wednesday
, which is the first day of Lent.


Biblical basis and symbolism

In the accounts of the four
canonical Gospel Gospel originally meant the Christian message, but in the 2nd century it came to be used also for the books in which the message was set out; in this sense a gospel can be defined as a loose-knit, episodic narrative of the words and deeds of Jes ...
s, Christ's
triumphal entry into Jerusalem In the accounts of the four canonical Gospels, Jesus Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem took place in the days before the Last Supper, marking the beginning of his Passion (Christianity), Passion, his time of suffering, death, and resurrect ...

triumphal entry into Jerusalem
takes place a week before his
resurrection Resurrection or anastasis is the concept of coming back to life after death. In a number of religions, a Dying-and-rising deity, dying-and-rising god is a deity which dies and resurrects. Reincarnation is a similar process hypothesized by ot ...
.''The people's New Testament commentary'' by M. Eugene Boring, Fred B. Craddock 2004 pp. 256–258''The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Matthew–Luke, Volume 1'' by Craig A. Evans 2003 pp. 381–395''The Synoptics: Matthew, Mark, Luke'' by Ján Majerník, Joseph Ponessa, Laurie Watson Manhardt 2005 pp. 133–134''The Bible knowledge background commentary: John's Gospel, Hebrews–Revelation'' by Craig A. Evans pp. 114–118 Only the Gospel of John shows a timeline of the event, dated six days before the
Passover Passover, also called Pesach (; he, פֶּסַח '), is a major Jewish holiday Jewish holidays, also known as Jewish festivals or ''Yamim Tovim'' ( he, ימים טובים, , Good Days, or singular , in transliterated Translitera ...
. Before this, Jesus talked to two of his disciples, taking to himself the
ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
word of Lord ( (translated ),) written with a
capital letter Letter case is the distinction between the letters Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or ...
in the original text, as a
proper noun A proper noun is a noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (lingu ...
. The
raising of Lazarus Lazarus of Bethany, also known as Saint Lazarus, or Lazarus of the Four Days, venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number ...

raising of Lazarus
is mentioned only by the Gospel of John, in the previous chapter. The
Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
and the
Eastern Catholic Churches The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, Eastern Rite Catholicism, or simply the Eastern Churches, are twenty-three Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Chris ...
which follows the
Byzantine Rite The Byzantine Rite, also known as the Greek Rite or the Rite of Constantinople, identifies the wide range of cultural, liturgical, and canonical practices that developed in the Eastern Orthodox Church of Constantinople. The canonical hours are v ...
, commemorate it on
Lazarus Saturday Lazarus Saturday in Eastern Christianity Eastern Christianity comprises Christian traditions and church families that originally developed during classical and late antiquity in Western Asia, Egypt Egypt ( ; ar, مِصر ), official ...
, following the text of the Gospel. In fact, the Jewish calendar dates begin at
sundown
sundown
of the night beforehand, and conclude at
nightfall
nightfall
. The
Gospel of Matthew The Gospel according to Matthew ( el, Κατὰ Ματθαῖον Εὐαγγέλιον, translit=Katà Matthaîon Euangélion), also called the Gospel of Matthew, or simply Matthew, is the first book of the New Testament and one of the three s ...
claims that this happened that the prophecy might be fulfilled of: Zechariah 9:9 "The Coming of Zion's King – See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey". It suggests that Jesus was declaring he was the
King of Israel This article is an overview of the kings of the United Kingdom of Israel as well as those of its successor states and classical period kingdoms ruled by the Hasmonean dynasty and Herodian dynasty 260px, Coin of Herod the Great The Herodian ...
. According to the Gospels, Jesus Christ rode on a donkey into Jerusalem, and the celebrating people there laid down their cloaks and small branches of trees in front of him, singing part of Psalm 118: 25–26 – Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord. The symbolism of the donkey may refer to the Eastern tradition that it is an animal of peace, unlike the horse which is the animal of war. A king would have ridden a horse when he was bent on war and ridden a donkey to symbolize his arrival in peace. Jesus' entry to Jerusalem would have thus symbolized his entry as the , not as a war-waging king. Thus there have been two different meanings (or more levels of
biblical hermeneutics Biblical hermeneutics is the study of the principles of interpretation concerning the books of the Bible A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of texts (or "books") which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards ...
): an historical meaning, truly happening according to the Gospels, and a secondary meaning in the symbolism. In Luke 19:41 as Jesus approaches Jerusalem, he looks at the city and weeps over it (an event known as ''
Flevit super illam In the accounts of the four canonical Gospels, Jesus Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem took place in the days before the Last Supper, marking the beginning of his Passion (Christianity), Passion, his time of suffering, death, and resurrect ...
'' in
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...
), foretelling his coming Passion and the suffering that awaits the city in the events of the destruction of the
Second Temple The Second Temple (, ), also known in its later years as Herod's Temple, was the reconstructed Jewish holy temple that stood on the Temple Mount The Temple Mount (Hebrew language, Hebrew: , ; "Mount of the House f God, i.e. the Temple in ...

Second Temple
. In many lands in the ancient
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
, it was customary to cover in some way the path of someone thought worthy of the highest honour. The
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites ...

Hebrew Bible
reports that
Jehu ) as depicted on the Black Obelisk The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III is a black limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate rock, carbonate sedimentary rock. It is composed mostly of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are ...

Jehu
, son of
Jehoshaphat Jehoshaphat (; alternatively spelled Jehosaphat, Josaphat, or Yehoshafat; ; el, Ἰωσαφάτ, Iosafát; la, Josaphat), according to 1 Kings 15:24, was the son of Asa, and the fourth king of the Kingdom of Judah, in succession to his father ...
, was treated this way. Both the
Synoptic Gospels The gospel Gospel originally meant the Christian message ("the gospel#REDIRECT The gospel In Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testame ...
and the
Gospel of John The Gospel according to John ( el, Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Ἰωάννην, translit=Euangélion katà Iōánnēn, also known as the Gospel of John, or simply John) is the fourth of the four canonical gospels. It contains a highly sc ...
report that people gave Jesus this form of honour. In the synoptics the people are described as laying their garments and cut rushes on the street, whereas John specifies fronds of palm (Greek ''phoinix)''. In Jewish tradition, the palm is one of the Four Species carried for
Sukkot or ("Booths, Tabernacles") , observedby = Jew Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2International Organization for Standardization, ISO 259 is a series of international standards for the romanization of Hebrew, romanization of Heb ...

Sukkot
, as prescribed for rejoicing in Leviticus 23:40. In the
Greco-Roman culture Roman Theatre of Mérida, Spain. The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the Commonwealth), as understood by modern scholars and writers, refers to geographical regions and countries that cultura ...
of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
, which strongly influenced Christian tradition, the palm branch was a symbol of triumph and victory. It became the most common attribute of the or
Victoria Victoria most commonly refers to: * Victoria (Australia), a state of the Commonwealth of Australia * Victoria, British Columbia, provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada * Victoria (mythology), Roman goddess of Victory * Victoria, Seychelles ...
. For contemporary Roman observers, the procession would have evoked the
Roman triumph The Roman triumph (') was a civil ceremonyA civil, or registrar, ceremony is a non-religious legal marriage in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a culturally recognised union between people, called spouses, tha ...
, when the ''triumphator'' laid down his arms and wore the
toga The toga (, ), a distinctive garment of ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest histori ...
, the civilian garment of peace that might be ornamented with emblems of the palm. Although the Epistles of Paul refer to Jesus as "triumphing", the entry into Jerusalem may not have been regularly pictured as a triumphal procession in this sense before the 13th century. In
ancient Egyptian religion Ancient Egyptian religion was a complex system of Polytheism, polytheistic beliefs and rituals that formed an integral part of ancient Egyptian culture. It centered on the Egyptians' interactions with Ancient Egyptian deities, many deities belie ...
, the palm was carried in funeral processions and represented eternal life. The
martyr's palm The palm branch is a symbol of victory, triumph, peace, and eternal life originating in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean world. The palm ''(Phoenix (plant), Phoenix)'' was sacred in Mesopotamian religions, and in ancient Egyptian religion, ...
was later used as a symbol of Christian martyrs and their spiritual victory or triumph over death. In Revelation 7:9, the white-clad multitude stand before the throne and
Lamb Lamb or The Lamb may refer to: * A young sheep * Lamb and mutton, the meat of sheep Arts and media Film, television, and theatre * The Lamb (1915 film), ''The Lamb'' (1915 film), a silent film starring Douglas Fairbanks Sr. in his screen debut * ...
holding palm branches.


Observance in the liturgy


Eastern and Oriental Christianity

Palm Sunday, or the ''Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem'' as it may be called in , is one of the
Twelve Great Feasts In the Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised member ...
of the
liturgical year The liturgical year, also known as the church year or Christian year, as well as the kalendar, consists of the cycle of liturgy, liturgical seasons in Christian churches that determines when feast days, including Calendar of saints, celebrati ...

liturgical year
. The day before Palm Sunday,
Lazarus Saturday Lazarus Saturday in Eastern Christianity Eastern Christianity comprises Christian traditions and church families that originally developed during classical and late antiquity in Western Asia, Egypt Egypt ( ; ar, مِصر ), official ...
, believers often prepare palm fronds by knotting them into crosses in preparation for the procession on Sunday. The
hangings Hanging is the suspension of a person by a noose or ligature strangulation, ligature around the neck.Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed. Hanging as method of execution is unknown, as method of suicide from 1325. The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' ...

hangings
and
vestments according to the Neo-Gallican Rite of Versailles Elevation The elevation of a geographic location (geography), location is its height above or below a fixed reference point, most commonly a reference geoid, a mathematical model of the Earth's s ...

vestments
in the church are changed to a festive color – most commonly green. The
Troparion 200px, A hand-drawn Old Believer lubok featuring 'Znamenny Chant">hook and banner notation'. A troparion (Greek language, Greek , plural: troparia, τροπάρια; Georgian language, Georgian: ტროპარი, "tropari" Church Slavonic l ...
of the Feast (a short hymn) indicates that the resurrection of Lazarus is a prefiguration of Jesus's own Resurrection: In the
Russian Orthodox Church , native_name_lang = ru , image = Moscow July 2011-7a.jpg , imagewidth = , alt = , caption = Cathedral of Christ the Saviour The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour ( rus, Храм Хр ...

Russian Orthodox Church
,
Ukrainian Orthodox Church The history of Christianity in Ukraine dates back to the earliest centuries of the history of Christianity, to the Apostolic Age, with mission trips along the Black Sea and a legend of Saint Andrew even ascending the hills of Kyiv. The first Chr ...
, Ukrainian Catholic Church, Ruthenian Catholic Church,
Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Pol ...

Polish
,
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
n and
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

Austria
n
Roman Catholics The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ri ...

Roman Catholics
, and various other
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical reg ...

Eastern Europe
an peoples, the custom developed of using
pussy willow Pussy willow is a name given to many of the smaller species of the genus ''Salix'' (willows and sallows) when their furry catkins are young in early Spring (season), spring. These species include (among many others): *Goat willow or goat sallow ...

pussy willow
and other twigs like box tree instead of palm fronds because the latter are not readily available that far north. There is no canonical requirement as to what kind of branches must be used, so some Orthodox believers use
olive The olive, botanical name ''Olea europaea'', meaning "European olive", is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodivers ...

olive
branches. Whatever the kind, these branches are and distributed together with candles either during the
All-Night Vigil The All-night vigil is a service of the Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a commun ...
on the Eve of the Feast (Saturday night), or before the
Divine Liturgy Divine Liturgy ( grc-gre, Θεία Λειτουργία, Theia Leitourgia) or Holy Liturgy is the Eucharist The Eucharist (; grc-gre, εὐχαριστία, eucharistía, thanksgiving) also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, am ...
on Sunday morning. The Great Entrance of the Divine Liturgy commemorates the "Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem", so the meaningfulness of this moment is punctuated on Palm Sunday as everyone stands, holding their branches and lit candles. The faithful take these branches and candles home with them after the liturgy, and keep them in their
icon corner The icon corner, sacred corner or red corner, ( el, εικονοστάσι - meaning red, bright-shining, or beautiful corner) is a small worship space prepared in the homes of Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called ...
as an ''evloghia'' (blessing). In Russia, donkey walk processions took place in different cities, but most importantly in
Novgorod Veliky Novgorod ( rus, links=yes, Великий Новгород, p=vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj ˈnovɡərət), also known as just Novgorod (russian: Новгород, lit=newtown, links=yes), is the largest city and administrative center of Novgorod O ...

Novgorod
and, from 1558 until 1693, in Moscow. These were prominently featured in testimonies by foreign witnesses and mentioned in contemporary Western maps of the city. The
Patriarch of Moscow The Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus' (russian: Патриарх Московский и всея Руси, translit=Patriarkh Moskovskij i vseja Rusi), also known as the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, is the official title of the Bishop A b ...
, representing Christ, rode on a "donkey" (actually a horse draped in white cloth); the
Tsar of Russia This is a list of all reigning monarchs in the history of Russia The history of Russia begins with the histories of the East Slavs The East Slavs are Slavic peoples speaking the East Slavic languages. Formerly the main population of ...
humbly led the procession on foot. Originally, Moscow processions began inside the
Kremlin The Moscow Kremlin ( rus, Московский Кремль, r=Moskovskiy Kreml, p=mɐˈskofskʲɪj krʲemlʲ), or simply the Kremlin, is a fortified complex in the center of Moscow founded by Russian ruling dynasty of Rurikids. It is the bes ...

Kremlin
and terminated at Trinity Church, now known as
Saint Basil's Cathedral The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed ( rus, Собо́р Васи́лия Блаже́нного, Sobór Vasíliya Blazhénnogo), commonly known as Saint Basil's Cathedral, is an Eastern Orthodox Church, Orthodox church (building), church in Red ...

Saint Basil's Cathedral
, but in 1658
Patriarch Nikon Nikon ( ru , Ни́кон, Old Russian: ''Нїконъ''), born Nikita Minin (''Никита Минин''; 7 May 1605 – 17 August 1681) was the seventh Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus' The Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus' (russian: Патри ...
reversed the order of procession.
Peter IPeter I may refer to: Religious hierarchs * Saint Peter (c. 1 AD – c. 64–88 AD), a.k.a. Simon Peter, Simeon, or Simon, apostle of Jesus * Pope Peter I of Alexandria (died 311), revered as a saint * Peter I of Armenia (died 1058), Catholicos o ...

Peter I
in the 1720s, as a part of his nationalisation of the church, terminated the custom; it has been occasionally recreated in the 21st century. In
Oriental Orthodox The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings ...
churches, palm fronds are distributed at the front of the church at the sanctuary steps. In India the sanctuary itself is strewn with marigolds, and the congregation proceeds through and outside the church. File:Wjatscheslaw Grigorjewitsch Schwarz 002.jpg, Palm Sunday procession, Moscow, with Tsar Alexei Michaelovich (painting by Vyacheslav Schwarz, 1865) File:Engraving of Red Square & Kremlin (Moscow, 1654).jpg, The Palm procession in Moscow, 1654, showing the original rite of the Russian church with a Donkey walk File:Palm sunday.JPG,
Orthodox Orthodox, Orthodoxy, or Orthodoxism may refer to: Religion * Orthodoxy, adherence to accepted norms, more specifically adherence to creeds, especially within Christianity and Judaism, but also less commonly in non-Abrahamic religions like Neo-paga ...
congregation in India collects palm fronds for
procession A procession is an organized body of people walking in a formal or ceremonial manner. History Processions have in all peoples and at all times been a natural form of public celebration, as forming an orderly and impressive ceremony. Religious ...

procession
: men on left of sanctuary in the photo; women collecting fronds on right of sanctuary, outside photo. File:Цвети, улазак Христа у Јерусалим (Church fresco - Triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Bitola).jpg,
Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
fresco in Nativity of the Theotokos Church,
Bitola Bitola (; mk, Битола ) is a city in the southwestern part of North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia before February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast E ...
,
Republic of North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia until February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe. It gained independence in 1991 as one of the successor states of Socialist Federal ...


Western Christianity

In ancient times, palm branches symbolized goodness and victory. They were often depicted on coins and important buildings. Solomon had palm branches carved into the walls and doors of the temple. Again at the end of the Bible, people from every nation raise palm branches to honor Jesus. Palm Sunday commemorates the entrance of Christ into Jerusalem, when palm branches were placed in his path, before his arrest on Holy Thursday and his crucifixion on
Good Friday Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Great and Holy Friday (also Holy ...
. It thus marks the beginning of
Holy Week In some traditions of , Holy Week (: or , 'Greater Week'; el, Ἁγία καὶ Μεγάλη Ἑβδομάς, translit=Hagia kai Megale Hebdomas, lit=Holy and Great Week) is the most sacred week in the Church year. In Eastern Rite Churches ...

Holy Week
, the final week of Lent. In churches of many
Christian denomination A Christian denomination is a distinct religious Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a rel ...
s, members of the congregation, oftentimes children, are given palms that they carry as they walk in a procession around the inside of the church. In the
Church of Pakistan The Church of Pakistan is a united Protestant Church in Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English language, English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List ...
, a
united Protestant Church A united church, also called a uniting church, is a church Church may refer to: Religion * Church (building) A church building, church house, or simply church, is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religio ...
, the faithful on Palm Sunday carry palm branches into the church as they sing Psalms 24. In the
Roman Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Roman Catholic Church
, as well as among many
Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation. Adherents of Anglicanism are called ''Anglicans''; t ...

Anglican
and
Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism that identifies with the teachings of Jesus Christ and was founded by Martin Luther, a 16th-century German monk and Protestant Reformers, reformer whose efforts to reform the theology ...
congregations, palm fronds (or in colder climates some kind of substitutes) are with
holy water Holy water is water that has been blessed by a member of the clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and ...

holy water
outside the church building (or in cold climates in the
narthex The narthex is an architectural element typical of Early Christian art and architecture, early Christian and Byzantine architecture, Byzantine basilicas and Church architecture, churches consisting of the entrance or lobby (room), lobby area, loca ...

narthex
when Easter falls early in the year) in an event called the Blessing of the Palms. A solemn procession of the entire congregation takes place immediately afer the blessing of the palms, called the Palm procession. In the Catholic the Episcopal Church, this feast now coincides with that of
Passion Sunday Passion Sunday is the fifth Sunday of Lent Lent (Latin: ''Quadragesima'', 'Fortieth') is a solemn religious moveable feast#Lent, observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks late ...
, which is the focus of the
Mass Mass is the quantity Quantity is a property that can exist as a multitude or magnitude, which illustrate discontinuity and continuity. Quantities can be compared in terms of "more", "less", or "equal", or by assigning a numerical value ...
which follows the procession. The Catholic Church considers the blessed palms to be
sacramentals A sacramental is a material object or action (in Latin ''sacramentalia'') ritually blessed by a priest to signal its association with the Sacrament A sacrament is a Christian rite A rite is an established, Ceremony, ceremonial, usually relig ...
. The vestments for the day are deep scarlet red, the colour of blood, indicating the supreme redemptive sacrifice Christ was entering the city to fulfill his passion and resurrection in Jerusalem. In the Episcopal and many other Anglican churches and in Lutheran churches, as well, the day is officially called ''The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday''; in practice, though, it is usually termed ''Palm Sunday'' as in the 1928 American
Book of Common Prayer A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of v ...

Book of Common Prayer
and in earlier Lutheran liturgies and calendars, to avoid undue confusion with the penultimate Sunday of Lent in the traditional calendar, which was ''Passion Sunday''. In traditional usage of the
Methodist Church Methodism, also called the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related denominations Denomination may refer to: * Religious denomination, such as a: ** Christian denomination ** Jewish denomination ** Islamic denomination ** Hindu d ...
, '' The Book of Worship for Church and Home'' (1965) provides the following
Collect The collect ( ) is a short general prayer of a particular structure used in Christian liturgy. Collects appear in the liturgies of Roman Catholic, Orthodoxy, Orthodox, Anglican, Methodism, Methodist, Lutheran, and Presbyterian churches, among othe ...
for Palm Sunday:


Customs

It is customary in many churches for worshippers to receive fresh palm leaves on Palm Sunday. In parts of the world where this has historically been impractical, substitute traditions have arisen.


Belgium

In
Hoegaarden Hoegaarden () is a Municipalities of Belgium, municipality in the province of Flemish Brabant, in Flanders, one of the three Communities, regions and language areas of Belgium, regions of Belgium. The municipality comprises the villages of Hoegaar ...
, one of the last remaining Palm Sunday processions takes place every year. A fellowship of Twelve Apostles carries a wooden statue of Christ around the town, while children go door to door offering the palms (
box A box (plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version ...

box
) for coins.


Bulgaria

In
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
, Palm Sunday is known as ''Tsvetnitsa'' (, "flower") or ''Vrabnitsa'' (''varba'', "willow"), or Flower's Day. People with flower-related names (e.g., , etc.) celebrate this day as their name day.


England

In the 15th through the 17th centuries in England, Palm Sunday was frequently marked by the burning of Jack o' Lent, Jack-'o'-Lent figures. This was a straw effigy which would be stoned and abused on Ash Wednesday, and kept in the parish for burning on Palm Sunday. The symbolism was believed to be a kind of revenge on Judas Iscariot, who had betrayed Christ. The effigy could also have represented the hated figure of Winter, whose destruction prepares the way for Spring.


Egypt and Ethiopia

In the Coptic Orthodox Church and Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Orthodox Ethiopia, this holiday is referred to as Hosanna. Palm leaves will be blessed and distribute, they are used to create crucifixes, rings and other ornaments.


Finland

In Finland, it is popular for children to dress up as Easter witches and go door to door in neighborhoods and trade decorated
pussy willow Pussy willow is a name given to many of the smaller species of the genus ''Salix'' (willows and sallows) when their furry catkins are young in early Spring (season), spring. These species include (among many others): *Goat willow or goat sallow ...

pussy willow
branches for coins and candy. This is an old Karelian custom called ''virpominen''. It is customary for the children to chant, with some variation, "Virvon varvon tuoreeks, terveeks, tulevaks vuodeks, vitsa sulle, palkka mulle!" which translates as "I'm wishing you a fresh, healthy upcoming year, a branch for you, a prize for me!" The chant has been translated in Juha Vuorinen's novel ''Totally Smashed!'' as "Willow switch, I'm the Easter witch! I wish you health and a love that's rich! From me I bring some luck today, for this branch what will you pay?"


Germany

In some regions of Germany, long stakes with pussy willow, box and other twigs are taken for the Palm procession rather than nosegays. In some Southern regions either the priest leads the palm procession, riding on a donkey, or a wooden donkey (called ''Palmesel'') with a figure of Christ is traditionally trundled with the procession of the faithful.


India

In most of the Catholic churches in India the palms are blessed by the priest on Palm Sunday and then distributed among the people after the holy mass. There is a tradition of folding palm fronds into palm crosses, which are kept at the altar till the next
Ash Wednesday Ash Wednesday is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' an ...

Ash Wednesday
. In the South Indian state of Kerala (and in Indian Orthodox, Church of South India (CSI), Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, and Syriac Orthodox Church (Jacobite) congregations elsewhere in India and throughout the West), flowers are strewn about the sanctuary on Palm Sunday during the reading of the Gospel, at the words uttered by the crowd welcoming Jesus, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who is come and is to come in the name of the Lord God". These words are read to the congregation thrice. The congregation then repeats, "Hosanna!", and the flowers are scattered. This is adapted from the older Hindu custom of scattering flowers on festive occasions, as well as the honour shown to Jesus upon his entry into Jerusalem. Indian Orthodoxy traces its roots to the arrival in India of Saint Thomas the Apostle (traditionally dated to AD 52) and his evangelism among both the Brahmans of the Malabar Coast and the ancient Jewish community there. Its rites and ceremonies are both Hindu and Jewish, as well as Levantine Christian, in origin. In Syro-Malabar Catholic Church's palm leaves are blessed during Palm Sunday ceremony and a Procession takes place holding the palms.


Italy

In Italy, palm leaves are used along with small olive branches, readily available in the Mediterranean climate. These are placed at house entrances (for instance, hanging above the door) to last until the following year's Palm Sunday. For this reason, usually palm leaves are not used whole, due to their size; instead, leaf strips are braided into smaller shapes. Small olive branches are also often used to decorate traditional Easter cakes, along with other symbols of birth, like eggs.


Latvia

In Latvia, Palm Sunday is called "Pussy Willow Sunday", and pussy willows – symbolizing new life – are blessed and distributed to the faithful. Children are often awakened that morning with ritualistic swats of a willow branch.


Lithuania

When Christianity came to Lithuania, the plants which sprouted earliest were honored during spring feasts. The name "Palm Sunday" is a misnomer; the "verba" or "dwarfed spruce" is used instead. According to tradition, on the Saturday before Palm Sunday the Lithuanians take special care in choosing and cutting well-formed branches, which the women-folk decorate with flowers. The flowers are meticulously tied onto the branches, making the "Verba".


The Levant

In Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, State of Palestine, Palestine, and Syria, Palm Sunday (''Shaa'nineh'' in Arabic) Is perhaps the best-attended liturgy in the Christian Calendar, among the Orthodoxy#Christianity, Orthodox, Catholic (Latin Church, Latin and Eastern Catholic Churches, Eastern), and
Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation. Adherents of Anglicanism are called ''Anglicans''; t ...

Anglican
Churches, perhaps because it is notably a family occasion. On this day, children attend church with branches from
olive The olive, botanical name ''Olea europaea'', meaning "European olive", is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodivers ...

olive
and palm trees. Also, there will be carefully woven crosses and other symbols made from palm fronds and roses and a procession at the beginning of the liturgy, during which at some point, the priest will take an olive branch and splash
holy water Holy water is water that has been blessed by a member of the clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and ...

holy water
on the faithful.


Malta

All the parishes of Malta and Gozo on Palm Sunday (Maltese language, Maltese: ''Ħadd il-Palm'') bless the palm leaves and the olive leaves. Those parishes that have the statues of
Good Friday Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Great and Holy Friday (also Holy ...
bless the olive tree they put on the statues of "Jesus prays in the Olive Garden" (''Ġesù fl-Ort'') and the "Betrayal of Judas" (''il-Bewsa ta' Ġuda''). Also, many people take a small olive branch to their homes because it is a Sacramentals, sacramental.


Netherlands

In the Dutch Low Saxon, Saxon regions of the Netherlands, crosses are decorated with candy and bread, made in the form of a rooster. In the Diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden, a great
procession A procession is an organized body of people walking in a formal or ceremonial manner. History Processions have in all peoples and at all times been a natural form of public celebration, as forming an orderly and impressive ceremony. Religious ...

procession
with oil lamps is held the night before Palm Sunday in honour of the Sorrowful Mother of Warfhuizen.


Philippines

In the Philippines, a statue of Christ riding a donkey (the ''Humenta''), or the presiding priest on horseback, is brought to the local church in a morning procession. Congregants line the route, waving ''palaspás'' (ornately woven palm branches) and spreading ''tapis'' (heirloom "aprons" made for this ritual) in imitation of the excited Jerusalemites. At the church parvise, a house, or the town plaza, children dressed as angels scatter flowers as they sing the day's antiphon ''Hosanna Filio David'' in the vernacular and to traditional tunes. The first Mass of the day then follows. Once blessed, the ''palaspás'' are brought home and placed on altars, doorways, and windows. The Church teaches that this is a sign of welcoming Christ into the home, but folk belief holds that the blessed ''palaspás'' are apotropaic, deterring evil spirits, lightning, and fires. Another folk custom is to feed pieces of blessed ''palaspás'' to roosters used in Cockfight#Philippines, ''sabong'' (cockfighting); this was strongly discouraged by the Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle. In other provinces, the flowers strewn by the angels during the procession are added to the rice seeds being planted, in the belief that these will ensure a bountiful harvest.


Poland

Many
Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Pol ...

Polish
towns and villages (the best known are Lipnica Murowana in Lesser Poland and Łyse, Masovian Voivodeship, Łyse) organize artificial palm competitions. The biggest of those reach above 30 meters in length; for example, the highest palm in 2008 was 33.39 meters.


Romania and Moldova

In Romania and Moldova, Palm Sunday is known as ''Duminica Floriilor'' or simply ''Florii'', translating ''Flowers' Sunday''.


Spain

In Spain, there is a tradition at the Palmeral of Elche (Europe's largest palm grove) in which local people cover palm leaves from the sun to allow them to whiten, and then they tie and braid them into intricate shapes. A Spanish proverbs, Spanish rhyming proverb states: ''Domingo de Ramos, quien no estrena algo, se le caen las manos'' ("On Palm Sunday, the hands drop off of those who fail to wear something new"). On Palm Sunday, it is customary to don new clothing or shoes.


Syria

In Syria, it is popular for children to dress up as Easter witches and go door to door in neighborhoods for coins and candy.


Wales and England

In southern Wales and nearby portions of England, 'Sul y Blodau' or 'Flowering Sunday' is a grave decoration tradition commonly observed on Palm Sunday, although historically Flowering Sunday grave decoration was also observed on other days as well. Today, the names Palm Sunday and Flowering Sunday are used interchangeably in those regions. In 1829 Thomas Wallace, of Llanbadoc, Monmouthshire, published a poem which contains the first known reference to the custom being practiced only on Palm Sunday. Welsh cemetery cleaning and decoration traditions may have begun as an Easter celebration before becoming more commonly associated with Palm Sunday. As early as 1786, cleaning and flower decorations were attested by William Matthews during a tour of South Wales. Richard Warner attested in 1797 "the ornamenting of the graves of the deceased with various plants and flowers, at certain seasons, by the surviving relatives" and noted that Easter was the most popular time for this tradition. By 1803, Malkin's observations in "The Scenery, Antiquities, and Biography of South Wales from materials collected during two excursions in the year 1803" reflect the shift away predominantly associating the custom with Easter.


See also

* Crucifixion eclipse * Divine Mercy Sunday * Palm branch (symbol) * Palm Sunday church bombings


References


Bibliography

*
Вход Господень в Иерусалим. Богослужебные указания для священнослужителей.
(Составитель протоиерей Виталий Грищук) – СПб.: Санкт-Петербургская православная духовная академия, 2013г. (в формате iBooks).


External links




Learn how to make a cross out of palms

Palm Sunday (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia)



Palm Sunday 2015
* {{Authority control Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church Christian Sunday observances Holy Week March observances April observances Greek traditions Public holidays in Greece May observances Feasts of Jesus Christ Holy Week processions