Palm Sunday, also called Passion Sunday, in the Christian tradition marks the beginning of Holy Week and is the Sunday before Easter, commemorating Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Holy Week is a solemn week focusing on the final days of Jesus’ life, culminating in Easter Sunday, the most important holiday in Christianity.
The biblical account of Palm Sunday can be found in all four Gospels: Matthew 21: 1-11, Mark 11: 1-11, Luke 19: 28-44 and John 12: 12-19.
A detailed description of a palm processional celebration was recorded as early as the 4th century in Jerusalem. The ceremony was not introduced into the West until much later in the 9th century.
Today many churches distribute palm branches to the congregation on Palm Sunday – worshippers take home their palm branches and display them near a cross or crucifix. Some churches will place collection baskets to gather the old palm leaves to be burned on Shrove Tuesday of the following year and used in the next day’s Ash Wednesday services.