Do you remember looking forward to the special day in the Church where you receive palms? What do those palms actually mean?
Palm Sunday is an event in the Church that commemorates Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. This is always celebrated on the Sunday before Easter Sunday. In many Christian Churches, worship services include a procession with palms. The palms actually represent the palm branches that the people scattered all over the ground that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on. According to the Gospels, Jesus Christ rode a donkey into Jerusalem, and the celebrating people there laid down their cloaks and small branches of trees in front of him.
The symbolism of the donkey may refer to the Eastern tradition that it is an animal of peace, versus the horse, which is the animal of war. A king would have ridden a donkey to symbolize his arrival in peace. The day before Palm Sunday, people often prepare palms by knotting them into crosses in preparation for the procession on Sunday. In the Roman Catholic Church, palms are blessed with an aspergillum, which is the vessel that sprinkles Holy Water, outside the church if using palm leaves. Not only the palms are blessed with Holy Water, but the attendees of the Mass are as well. The palms are saved in many churches to be burned on Shrove Tuesday the following year to make ashes used in Ash Wednesday services. The Catholic Church considers the blessed palms to be sacramentals. The vestments are changed to red, the color of blood, which represents Jesus’ sacrifices.
Palm Sunday leads us into a special time in the Church, called Holy Week. Pictured above is an example of some of the palms used for Palm Sunday.
By: Breanna Ellerbrock
Short URL: http://voice.lp.noacsc.org/?p=14460