The most popular questions about Palm Sunday — and their answers — By: Catholic News Agency

A priest holds palms on Palm Sunday. / Grant Whitty via Unsplash.

CNA Staff, Mar 24, 2024 / 04:00 am (CNA).

When is Palm Sunday 2024? 

Palm Sunday is on March 31, 2024. 

What is the meaning of Palm Sunday? 

Palm Sunday is the day we remember and honor Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem before his crucifixion. As Jesus entered the city on a donkey, people gathered and laid palm branches and their cloaks across Jesus’ path, shouting: “Hosanna to the Son of David!” It is also significant because it fulfilled Old Testament prophecies. For example, Jesus rode into the city on a donkey, fulfilling the prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9. 

When was Palm Sunday first celebrated? 

According to Brittanica, the earliest evidence of Palm Sunday being celebrated dates back to the eighth century.

Why do we use palm branches on Palm Sunday? 

The palm symbolized victory in the ancient world. All four Gospels tell us that people cut branches from palm trees and laid them across Jesus’ path and waved them in the air as he entered Jerusalem triumphantly a week before his death. As the Church enters Holy Week, the faithful use palms to commemorate his victory and Jesus’ passion liturgically. 

What kind of palms are used for Palm Sunday? Where do they come from?

Palm harvesters can be found around the world. However, a certain kind of palm tree grown in Florida called cabbage palmetto makes up a large majority of the palms used in U.S. parishes. 

Where is Palm Sunday found in the Bible? 

The account of Palm Sunday can be found in Matthew 21:1–11, Mark 11:1–11, Luke 19:28–44, and John 12:12–19.

Who celebrates Palm Sunday?

Catholic and Protestant communities celebrate Palm Sunday. 

Is Palm Sunday a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church? 

Yes. Since every Sunday is a holy day of obligation, Palm Sunday is also a holy day of obligation.

How do you make a cross out of palms?

Watch this video with step-by-step instructions.

Can you eat meat on Palm Sunday? 

Yes, you can eat meat on Palm Sunday. Sundays during Lent are still celebrations of the Resurrection. Abstinence from meat, the traditional form of Lenten penance, occurs on Fridays during Lent. Fasting, which involves abstaining from meat and eating only one meal with two smaller snacks that do not equal the size of the main meal, occurs on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Are Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday the same? 

Yes. Palm Sunday can also be referred to as Passion Sunday. Palm Sunday comes from the fact that it honors Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, where the people carried palm branches. It also is called Passion Sunday because the Gospel narrative of Jesus’ passion is read on this Sunday. 

What is the link between Palm Sunday and Ash Wednesday? 

The ashes used on Ash Wednesday are the burned palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday. That means the palms used this year will be burned into ashes to be used during Ash Wednesday next year.

What are the Palm Sunday colors? 

Red is worn on Palm Sunday in honor of the Lord’s passion.

How long is Palm Sunday Mass? 

This will vary but it will most likely be over an hour long. In many parishes, Mass begins with a procession. The procession symbolizes those who went to meet the Lord as he entered Jerusalem. The Gospel reading is also much longer than usual. The Passion narrative is read and the faithful participate throughout the reading.

Can you say ‘Happy Palm Sunday’? 

Yes, of course!

This story was first published April 9, 2022, and was updated March 20, 2024.

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