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What is Palm Sunday?

Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter, this year on April 9. The liturgy reenacts Jesus’s 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 again the next year, 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's crucifixion (the term is from the Latin "passio", which means suffering). The story is often sung or presented as a dramatic reading.

At Trinity Church Wall Street, the Palm Sunday liturgy begins at St. Paul’s Chapel and worshippers process down Broadway where the service continues at Trinity Church. This year, a donkey will join the procession, too.

You can see photos from years past below.