Palm Sunday is on April 9 this year. It always falls on the last Sunday before Easter. It is the beginning of Holy Week, which was Jesus' final week on earth. christians celebrate Palm Sunday every year to commemorate Jesus' triumphant ride on a colt into Jerusalem.

The day is called Palm Sunday because the crowd spread their cloaks on the ground and waved palm branches in the air as Jesus rode by. This honor was similar to what people do for heroes today. They have a parade and honor them with cheers as they pass by.

According to the Bible

The Bible records the story of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem.

It is so significant that it is found in all four gospels. The biblical account of Palm Sunday can be found in Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; and John 12:12-19. Pastors usually preach from one of these texts to remind the congregation of what happened and to explain why Palm Sunday is celebrated. Jesus' triumphant ride was prophesied in Zechariah 9:9. When Jesus actually did it, he was fulfilling the Scripture.

As Jesus rode by, the crowd sang Hosanna in the highest to honor him because Jesus' popularity at that time was at an all-time high. He had been teaching, preaching and performing miracles for three years. The people who waved the palm branches did not know by the end of that same week Jesus would be crucified on the cross.

According to the Bible, this was the beginning of Jesus' final week on earth.

Why palm branches?

Palm branches were used because they were readily available at that time of the year. They were plentiful for everyone to have some to wave. Even the little children were waving palm branches. The branches were long enough to be waved in the air.

Also, waving palm branches was a sign of victory.

Church services

To remember that experience, Christian churches have palm branches to distribute to their congregations. A clergy member blesses the branches and ushers pass them out to parishioners as they enter the church on Palm Sunday.

Sometimes the branches are made into small crosses to be pinned on lapels. The leftover palms are burned after Palm Sunday. The ashes are kept to be used in the following year's Ash Wednesday service.

Those who attend churches on Palm Sunday sometimes keep the palms they are given as a reminder of what happened on that day so long ago when Jesus rode into Jerusalem. They place a small piece of palm in their Bible or put a branch among the plants in their house.