Palm Sunday for Catholics: traditions and history of the holiday

Alina MilsentLife
Catholics to celebrate Palm Sunday on April 2, 2023

In 2023, Catholic Easter will be celebrated on April 9. Orthodox believers who follow the Julian calendar celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on April 16.

The dates of Palm Sunday for Catholics and Orthodox also differ. Catholics will celebrate it on April 2, while the Orthodox will celebrate Palm Sunday on April 9, coinciding with Catholic Easter. Read about the traditions and history of the holiday in the OBOZREVATEL article.

The history of Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is popularly called the Christian holiday of the Lord's Entry into Jerusalem. It is celebrated exactly one week before Easter. Blessed willow branches are the main and indispensable attributes of the holiday.

The day is associated with the event in the New Testament when Jesus entered Jerusalem. The locals greeted him with shouts of "Hosanna" and covered the roads with palm branches. According to ancient traditions, only kings were greeted in this way.

In Ukrainian traditions, willow branches replaced palm branches. This is because the willow is one of the first to bloom in spring. The blessed willow was endowed with healing properties.


Traditions and customs

In the early morning, people go to churches with branches of flowering willow. After the service, they take the blessed branches home and put them in a vase in a place of honour. It is believed that willow branches protect the family from illness and adversity. The branches are not thrown away until they dry up on their own.

The most popular old tradition is a kind of "beating" with willow branches with sentences: "I don't beat you, the willow beats you, Easter is in a week".

Sick children are lightly touched with blessed branches - people say that this way the child will recover faster.

Prohibitions on Palm Sunday

On Palm Sunday, Lent continues, so believers do not eat meat, eggs, or dairy products. On this day, it is allowed to eat fish.

As on all major church holidays, it is forbidden to engage in heavy physical labour and gardening.

As a reminder, from 2 to 7 April, Catholics will begin Holy Week. OBOZREVATEL talked about the traditions and significance of each day.

Previously OBOZREVATEL explained whether Ukrainians will have an extra day off on Easter in 2023.

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