Spring is almost here and so is the Easter holiday! We're already hopping with excitement just thinking about that Easter brunch, Easter egg hunts, and what we'll find in our Easter baskets on Sunday morning. But before we can dabble in any of that, Christians observe Holy Week: a seven-day span of religious events, which takes place in the lead up to Easter. It all starts with Palm Sunday, a feast celebrating Jesus Christ and his arrival in Jerusalem.
Palm Sunday is significant because not only does it commence an entire week of events, but the dates of other holidays rely on when it takes place. (That includes Easter!) So whether you observe Palm Sunday or you're learning about it for the first time, read on for everything you need to know about the holiday, including its determined date for 2023, how it's celebrated, and how it earned its name!
When is Palm Sunday in 2023?
This year, Palm Sunday is on Sunday, April 2, 2023.
As the first day of Holy Week, Palm Sunday always occurs on the Sunday before Easter—hence, why the date doesn't remain consistent every year. This culminates in the Christian religious observance of Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent and its 40-day season.
What is Palm Sunday?
Palm Sunday, also known as Passion Sunday, is commemorated as Christ's arrival in Jerusalem. When Jesus entered the Biblical land on his donkey, the city's people laid palm leaves in front of his pathway. This marked an understanding of peace, blessings, and faith between Jesus and Jerusalem's people, hence why the day is called Palm Sunday.
How do Christians celebrate Palm Sunday?
Each group may have its own set of specified traditions, but the use of palm leaves is significant.
In a majority of Christian churches, palm leaves and branches are given out on Palm Sunday ahead of services. Typically, a service on Palm Sunday includes the priest or pastor reading the triumphant story of Christ entering Jerusalem or a procession where the priest will walk up to the church as his parishioners place palms before him. Some members of the congregation will receive palm branches that have been blessed by the priest and braided into crosses. After the season, these palms are returned to the church and incinerated to produce ashes used for Ash Wednesday the following year.
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