Palm Sunday in Western Christianity Date in the current year: March 20, 2016

Palm Sunday in Western Christianity Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast that commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem that is described in the four canonical Gospels. It is celebrated on the Sunday before Easter.

According to the Gospels, Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem about a week before his Resurrection, riding the donkey. People lay their clothes and palm branches in front of Jesus to welcome him. Entering the city on a donkey is believed to symbolize arriving in peace, as the horse was considered the animal of war.

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the final week of Lent referred to as Holy Week. It is celebrated with solemn processions with palm branches, which are blessed outside the church. Palm branches have been considered the symbol of victory and goodness since ancient times.

In unfavorable climates, palm branches can be substituted with native trees, such as boxwood, taxus, willow, or olive. It us customary in many churches to save the blessed branches and burn them the following year on Ash Wednesday.

Depending on the church, the procession may include the normal liturgical procession of clergy and acolytes, the parish choir, or the entire congregation. In some Protestant churches, only children participate in the procession.

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