Palm Sunday 2018
Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter. Palm Sunday 2018 will be celebrated on March 25. Like Easter, Palm Sunday doesn’t have a fixed date and is considered a movable feast.
When Do We Celebrate Palm Sunday?
Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon of the spring, so Palm Sunday is celebrated exactly a week before.
Palm Sunday seems to have first been celebrated as early as the 4th century AD, when Christians were allowed to openly practice their religion. In Jerusalem, they would re-enact Christ’s procession into the city holding palm fronds and singing the Hosanna. In places where palms were scarce, people who attend Palm Sunday mass with olive branches. Other people substituted branches of yew, willow, box or spruce for palms if palms were not available and still do. Some of the eastern churches substitute pussy willows for palms.
The palms began to be blessed around time of the Franks at the beginning of the 8th century.
Why Do We Celebrate Palm Sunday?
Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem amid the acclaim of the people. It’s called palm Sunday because the crowd tossed palm fronds in Jesus’ path, which was a sign of respect and honor.
There are many ways Christians around the world celebrate Palm Sunday, but the blessing of palm leaves happens before Mass, either outside the church or in the narthex if it’s cold outside. Some of the blessed palms are burnt for ashes for Ash Wednesday, and the rest are given to worshipppers. These should be put in a place of honor in the home. They should be burned during the next Palm Sunday when they’re replaced by fresh palm leaves.
In Bulgaria, Palm Sunday is known as Flower’s Day, and it’s the name day of people with names related to flowers. In Southern India, parishioners scatter flowers in the church while the priest reads the Gospel. In Wales, flowers are placed on graves.
On Palm Sunday, the vestments of western priests are red, while they are gold or green for priests of the eastern rites.