This year, Palm Sunday is observed on Sunday, April 2, 2023 and marks the beginning of the Christian commemoration of Holy Week. Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter, the last Sunday in Lent.
Sunday commemorates Jesus entering the Holy City of Jerusalem surrounded
by a crowd of followers. Today, the palms distributed on this day in many Christian churches
signify the branches that were spread in on the road as Jesus
As Christ returned to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover with his followers, the crowds who were eager to proclaim
him the Messiah, and "took branches of palm trees", and went
forth to meet him.
They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" (Matthew 21:7-9)
The Palm Sunday procession in Cordoba, Spain features a statue of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem
Christian churches traditionally hold services on Palm Sunday
and leaves of palm are often shaped into crosses to symbolize
Jesus' last hours on the cross.
These palm fronds are also used in palm
weaving which produce beautiful woven symbols from the
palms to hang in Christian homes during the year.
that observe Ash
Wednesday by giving ashes to their members, these palms are burnt for use in this symbolic
ceremony the following year. In Eastern Orthodox churches the leaves of the bay
or laurel tree are distributed and used in cooking during
In many areas there are colorful processions with the palm
fronds to commemorate the journey of Christ. In Spain Domingo
de Ramos or Palm Sunday signals the beginning of Semana
Santa, or Holy Week. Processions and other public celebrations
continue until Lunes de Pascua, the Monday after Easter.
In some Catholic parishes in the Philippines, a priest rides a horse and is surrounded by the congregation, bearing palms in reenactment of Jesus' triumphal entry.
Palm Sunday foods and recipes
Fish, pasta, and other meatless dishes
are traditionally served on Palm Sunday.
In the Greek tradition, Lenten fast is broken with a fish dinner on Palm Sunday featuring bakaliaros or salt cod. In some parts of Italy, homemade fettuccini pasta topped with tomato sauce, bread crumbs and chopped nuts is the customary Palm Sunday dish.
In Great Britain, traditional
foods served on Palm Sunday include fig pudding because Jesus is
said to have eaten figs on his entry into the city of Jerusalem. In Wales, the day
is known as Sul y Blodau or Flowering Sunday because of the
association with the flowering of the fig tree. Making split pea soup is another tradition still observed in Northern England and Scotland, derived from the ancient practice of wearing a hard pea in the shoe as penance during Lent.
In other areas of the UK, pax cakes - along with best wishes for peace and brotherhood - are given out to congregations after Palm Sunday services in a custom said to date back to the 1500's.
More modern interpretations of appropriate foods to be eaten on Palm Sunday include hearts of palm featured in salads and side dishes to observe the day.