March 24*: Palm Sunday

Entry into Jerusalem by Giotto di BondoneLent is nearly over, and Easter is almost here! Today it is Palm Sunday, when Christians all over the world celebrate what’s best known as the triumphal entry. A week before his crucifixion, Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, and the people rejoiced:

“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 heaven!””

Matthew 21:8-9

Entry into Jerusalem by Pietro LorenzettiThere are many different traditions related to Palm Sunday, but they all have this rejoicing in common with each other. Many groups wave palms or other branches or even throw flowers as they call out “Hosanna!”  Hosanna is an ancient Hebrew expression of praise, literally meaning “Save!”

*Palm Sunday is celebrated every year on the Sunday before Easter, which, as I’m sure you know, moves around each year. In 2012, Palm Sunday was April 1, but in 2013, it’s March 24.

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