The palm and the cross are Christian symbols that are seen
in churches at a Palm Sunday service or mass.
Many Christians in the United States remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week. This day is also on the Sunday before Easter Sunday.
What do people do?
Programs of sacred music are performed in many towns and cities in the United States on Palm Sunday. They are often sponsored by and held in local churches but they may also be part of the musical community’s regular concert series. These programs usually begin on or before Palm Sunday and may continue throughout Holy Week. Bethany College’s Messiah Festival in Lindsborg, Kansas, has been held during Holy Week for more than 100 years.
Plays or pageants that focus on Holy Week themes are also performed on Palm Sunday. The Blessing of the Fleet in St Augustine, Florida, takes place on Palm Sunday each year. Shrimp trawlers and other fishing boats, as well as privately owned vessels, visit the town to receive a blessing. It is also customary for Christians to place blessed palm leaves in the shape of a cross behind religious images or statues in homes, stores and restaurants in the United States.
Palm Sunday is not a federal holiday in the United States. However, it is held on a Sunday, which is a non-school day and non-
working day for many Americans.
Background and Symbols
Palm Sunday is observed among many Christian churches as part of Holy Week in the United States. The term Pascua Florida, which in Spain originally referred to Palm Sunday, was later applied to the festive season of Easter Week. The state of Florida received its name when Ponce de Leon first sighted the land and named it in 1513 most likely because the date was around Easter.
Palm leaves symbolize victory and joy among many Christians in the United States. Some churches use silk plant leaves or substitute palm leaves with olive branches on Palm Sunday because palm leaves can be difficult to find in some areas in the United States.It is a sign of victory over the flesh and the world in Christianity. It is also associated in memory of Christian martyrs. Willow is commonly used instead of palm branches in some European countries. They are sometimes placed in the fields to ensure that there will be good crops.
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