Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. It is the Sunday before Easter and is one of the most important days in the Christian calendar after Christmas and Easter. Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the Holy Week, the week of events leading up to Jesus’ death. The Bible reveals that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the crowds greeted him by waving palm branches and covering his path with their cloaks and palm branches.
The gospels record the arrival of Jesus riding into the city on a donkey, the crowds shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David” and “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” to honor him as their long-awaited Messiah and King. “Hosanna” was the shout of praise or adoration made in recognition of the Messiahship of Jesus.
The significance of Jesus riding a donkey and having his way paved with palm branches is a fulfillment of a prophecy spoken by the prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 9:9). In biblical times, the regional custom called for kings and nobles arriving in procession to ride on the back of a donkey. The donkey was a symbol of peace; those who rode upon them proclaimed peaceful intentions. The laying of palm branches indicated that the king or dignitary was arriving in victory or triumph.
Palm Sunday precedes the arrest of Jesus on Holy Thursday and His Crucifixion on Good Friday. Christians celebrate the mystery of their salvation through Christ’s Death and His Resurrection on Easter Sunday.