Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Jan Harris
Deputy Group Editor
12:00 PM 23rd March 2024

Palm Sunday - The Start Of Holy Week

Photo by John Benitez on Unsplash
Photo by John Benitez on Unsplash
Palm Sunday is the first day of Holy Week leading up to Easter. It is a Christian moveable feast which falls on the Sunday before Easter and is mentioned in all four gospels. Holy Week is also the final week of Lent.

When is Holy Week?

The first day of Holy Week is Palm Sunday. This is the Sunday before Easter Day and the day Christians now celebrate Jesus riding into Jerusalem for the Passover. Jesus rode on a donkey as a sign of peace rather than a war-waging king on a horse.

Holy Week 2024 starts on Sunday 24 March and ends on Saturday 30 March the day before Easter Sunday on 31 March. Holy Week is also the last week of Lent.

Why called Palm Sunday?

It has been given the name of Palm Sunday because the people were pleased to see Jesus who they knew to be important. It was the custom in Roman times to welcome royalty by waving palm branches and often spreading them on the road.

Palm trees grew on the side of the road and the people took some branches and waved them in the air and shouted 'Hosanna' (which means 'God Saves' in Hebrew). They also put some branches on the road to make it easier for the donkey to walk on the rocky ground.

Sometimes Palm Sunday is called Passion Sunday as Holy Week reminds us of Jesus' passion or death.

photo by Stewart Cutler
photo by Stewart Cutler
Palm crosses

It is the custom in churches all over the world to give out small crosses made from palm leaves on Palm Sunday as a reminder of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and his death on the cross. The crosses are usually made from folded strips of dried palm leaves.

Seder plate - photo by slgckgc
Seder plate - photo by slgckgc
Passover Festival

The Passover Festival dates from about 4,000 years ago when Jewish people remember that God saved them from slavery in Egypt. Jesus was a Jew and so celebrated the Passover. The Jewish calendar follows the cycle of the moon, so the date changes a bit every year.