Palm Sunday is the final Sunday in Lent and marks the beginning of Holy Week on the Christian liturgical calendar. It commemorates Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a donkey where people gathered to welcome him. They laid palm branches and cloaks on the path shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David!” This fulfilled the prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9.
The use of a donkey was very symbolic since those of power and status rode horses, but Jesus’ entry on a donkey was to show his humility. Palms often were used as a symbol of both peace and victory. In Catholic and other Christian churches, the faithful will be given palm branches to commemorate the entry into Jerusalem where they are blessed and part of the service. Many take them home to form into simple crosses.
The first Palm Sunday is believed to have started in the 8th century. It is observed in the Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox, and other Christian denominations. It is also referred to as Passion Sunday.