Palm Sunday is a Christian celebration that commemorates the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem and his acclamation as the son of God. It is the sixth Sunday of Lent, which begins Holy Week.
This day is also known as Passion Sunday , due to the account of the Passion of Christ, recalling the historical fact of the crucifixion of Jesus.
How is Palm Sunday calculated each year?
Palm Sunday is a variable celebration, we explain how to calculate it each year. Find the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 21 (Spring Solstice). That Sunday will be Easter Sunday. Well, a week before it will be Palm Sunday. In 2023, Palm Sunday will be on April 2.
Why is Palm Sunday celebrated?
According to the Vatican document “Circular Letter on the Preparation and Celebration of the Easter Feasts” published in 1988, Palm Sunday “includes both the harbinger of the royal triumph of Christ and the announcement of the Passion.” On the other hand, this document states that “The relationship between the two aspects of the paschal mystery must be evidenced in the celebration in the catechism of the day.”
The Eucharist on Palm Sunday has two important moments: the procession and the blessing of the palms by the priest. Likewise, the reading of the word that evokes the Passion of the Lord stands out .
Explanation of Palm Sunday
In the sacred scriptures, the gospels of Matthew (chapter 21) and Mark (chapter 11) of the New Testament indicate that Jesus of Nazareth entered Jerusalem mounted on a donkey. He was acclaimed as King and Messiah by his followers, spreading cloaks, olive and palm branches as he passed and acclaiming Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the heights!
According to the Christian faith, palm branches are the symbol of the renewal of faith in God, as well as the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The blessing of the palms takes place before the procession. It is a custom on the part of devotees of the Christian tradition to keep blessed palm branches in their homes, which symbolize the paschal victory of Jesus Christ.
Some interesting facts
- The name of this religious celebration is due to the fact that Jesus was presented with palm and olive branches upon his arrival in Jerusalem.
- The liturgical color of Palm Sunday is red, since it represents the Passion of the Lord.
- It is estimated that there are approximately 2,600 species of palms, with the wax palm being the most used for the celebration of Palm Sunday. This species can only survive in tropical or subtropical climates.
- In those places where palms cannot be located or if they are in danger of extinction, olive, elder, fir or other tree branches are used instead.
- The palm is considered a symbol of fertility and wealth, especially for the Jewish people.
- The blessed palms that have not been used are burned and their ashes are used in the celebration of Ash Wednesday .
- In some countries, such as the United States and Canada, palms are harvested sustainably, in order to reduce the ecological impact.
What are the days related to Easter called?
We indicate what the days related to Holy Week are called, whether they are those of Holy Week itself, before or after:
Days proper of Holy Week:
- Palm Sunday: It is the Sunday before Easter Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week.
- Holy Monday: It is the Monday before Easter Sunday.
- Holy Tuesday: It is the Tuesday before Easter Sunday.
- Holy Wednesday: It is the Wednesday before Easter Sunday.
- Holy Thursday: It is the Thursday that follows Palm Sunday and commemorates the last supper of Jesus with his disciples.
- Good Friday: It is the Friday that follows Holy Thursday and commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus.
- Glory Saturday: It is the Saturday before Easter Sunday and the Easter Vigil is celebrated.
- Resurrection Sunday: It is the Sunday that follows Glory Saturday and celebrates the resurrection of Jesus.
Other days related to Holy Week but that occur before:
- Passion Thursday: It is the Thursday before Palm Sunday and is usually a day of prayer and preparation for Holy Week.
- Friday of Dolores: It is the Friday before Palm Sunday and commemorates the pain of the Virgin Mary for the death of her son.
- Lazarus Saturday: It is the Saturday before Palm Sunday and the resurrection of Lazarus by Jesus is commemorated.
- Passion Sunday: It is the Sunday before Palm Sunday and is considered the beginning of Lent.
Other days related to Holy Week but that occur after:
- Easter Monday: It is the Monday after Resurrection Sunday and Easter is celebrated. It is a day of rest in some countries and in others there are festive activities.
- Easter Tuesday: It is the Tuesday following Easter Sunday and in some countries it is celebrated with processions and other events.
- Easter Octave: It is a period of eight days that begins on Easter Sunday and ends on the following Easter Sunday.
- Divine Mercy Sunday: It is the Sunday following Resurrection Sunday and is an important holiday in the Catholic Church.
- Ascension of Jesus: It is the day that Jesus ascended to heaven, which is celebrated forty days after Resurrection Sunday.
Pentecost: It is the day the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and is celebrated fifty days after Resurrection Sunday.
The Importance of Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday teaches us that to follow Christ is to renounce ourselves
Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, because it celebrates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem riding a donkey – the symbol of humility – and acclaimed by the simple people who applauded Him as “He who comes in the name of the Lord”. These people, a few days ago, had seen Jesus resurrect Lazarus of Bethany and they were amazed, because they were sure that this was the Messiah announced by the prophets, but these same people had been mistaken about the type of Messiah that Christ was. He thought that, if he was a political messiah, a social liberator, he would snatch Israel from the clutches of Rome and restore it to the heyday of Solomon’s times.