Palm Sunday is a moveable feast which always falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates an event reported by all four Canonical Gospels Mark 11:1-11, Matthew 21:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19 - the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before his Passion.
The difficulty of procuring palms for that day's ceremonies in unfavorable climates for palms led to the substitution of boughs of box, yew, willow or other native trees. The Sunday was often designated by the names of these trees, as Yew Sunday or by the general term Branch Sunday.
In the New Testament
According to the Gospels, before entering Jerusalem, Jesus was staying at Bethany and Bethphage, and the Gospel of John adds that he had dinner with Lazarus, and his sisters Mary and Martha. While there, Jesus is described by the Synoptic Gospels as sending two unnamed disciples to the village over against them, in order to retrieve a colt that had been tied up but never been ridden, and to say, if questioned, that the colt was needed by the Lord but would be returned in a short period of time. The Synoptics and John state that Jesus knew people in the area, such as Simon the Leper, and so it could be argued that the presence of the colt had already been organised by Jesus' associates. The Gospel of John, however, merely says that Jesus found the colt. Both John and the Synoptics state that Jesus then rode the colt (or in Matthew the colt and its mother) into Jerusalem, with the Synoptics adding that the disciples had first put their cloaks on it, so as to make it more comfortable. The Gospels go on to describe how Jesus rode into Jerusalem, and how the people there lay down their cloaks in front of him, and also lay down small branches of trees. The people are also described as singing part of Psalm 118 - ...Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father, DavidPsalms 118:25-26). Where this entry is supposed to have taken place is unspecified; some scholars argue that the Golden Gate is the likely location, since that was where it was believed the Jewish messiah would enter Jerusalem; other scholars think that an entrance to the south, which had stairs leading directly to the Temple, would be more likely (Kilgallen 210). According to Jewish tradition (Sefer ha Zohar, part about donkey driver) the one who is able to bridle and ride a colt (or donkey) has a status of Messiah.. ... (
Matthew 21:1-11 (English Standard Version)
The Triumphal Entry
1(A) Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to(B) the Mount of Olives, then Jesus(C) sent two disciples, 2saying to them,
5(E) "Say to the daughter of Zion,'Behold, your king is coming to you,
(F) humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and[a] on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'"
6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8Most of the crowd(G) spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting,(H) "Hosanna to(I) the Son of David!(J) Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna(K) in the highest!" 10And(L) when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, "Who is this?" 11And the crowds said, "This is(M) the prophet Jesus,(N) from Nazareth of Galilee."
The Holy week started today.
The final week before Easter, the week in which Jesus Christ was tortured, crucified and in which he rose from the dead and saved us all.