Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter. The liturgy reenacts Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem with a procession and palm branches.
The Gospels describe Jesus entering Jerusalem before his crucifixion, riding on a colt or a donkey. A crowd of people greeted him with cries of Hosanna, which is an expression of prayer or joy, and threw coats and branches at his feet to honor him. The Gospel According to John specifically mentions palm branches, which were a sign of victory in pre-Christian times.
The observance of Palm Sunday dates back to at least the fourth century, recorded first by Egeria in her account of her pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the early 380s.
Today, many people fold the palm leaves to make crosses and some post them over doorways until Lent begins the next year again when they are burnt and used for Ash Wednesday.
Palm Sunday is also called the Sunday of the Passion. The liturgy continues to tell the story of the Passion, or Jesus’ crucifixion (the term is from the Latin “passio,” which means suffering). We present the story as a dramatic reading.
At St. Paul’s, the Palm Sunday liturgy begins in our courtyard and worshippers process down Academy Street and Main Street where the service continues in our nave.