On Sunday, March 25, 2018, palm branches will fill Christian churches and people will wear crosses made out of palm. They do that because Palm Sunday is the first day of Holy Week that the Bible records as Jesus' final week on earth. Palm Sunday is a religious time on the Christian calendar coming just one week before Easter Sunday.

The prophecy and procession

According to Zechariah 9:9, the prophet prophesied that the Messiah would ride into Jerusalem on a new colt.

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A very large crowd followed along in the procession. Everyone waved palm branches in his honor. They were thrown at his feet as a symbol of peace and victory. The crowd also spread them on the road as they sang "Hosanna in the highest." Zechariah's prophecy was made 400 years before it became a reality over 2,000 years ago.

Christian church leaders bless the branches and decorate the sanctuaries with them. Churchgoers are given palms to use during the service and some to take home with them as a reminder of Jesus' triumphant ride into the holy city so long ago.

Just a few days later, the same people who honored Jesus on Palm Sunday and cried out, "Hosanna in the highest" were the same people who cried out, "Crucify him." According to the Bible and Christian belief, Jesus was crucified on a cross and rose from the dead three days later to become the savior of those who believe in his death, burial, and resurrection.

Reminders

Today, Christian churches all over the world incorporate palm branches into the worship service after they have been blessed.

They are used to decorate the church. The pastor usually preaches a sermon about the occasion. This is easy because the story is told in all four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Jesus' triumphant ride into Jerusalem is the beginning of all the activities that will take place during his final week on earth.

The custodians of churches don't have to worry about any leftover palm branches. They are not thrown away, and they do not go to waste. The branches are dried and eventually burned for the next year's ashes to be used on Ash Wednesday.

It is not unusual to see people at restaurants and other places after leaving the church with crosses made out of palm leaves on their lapels. It is also common to see people with palm branches in their cars following a Palm Sunday service.

Since Palm Sunday and Easter have moveable dates, they do not occur on the same Sunday every year. This year, Easter falls on April 1. However, it doesn't make the religious holiday any less sacred.