Meaning of Palm Sunday

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the lord�
(John 12:13)

The meaning of Palm Sunday, also known as �The Triumphal Entry�, is celebrated to commemorate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem on the back of a young donkey following his miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead. People of Jerusalem greeted him waving palm branches as a symbol of victory and shouting praises to him in jubilation. On this day we worship Jesus Christ in the same manner, acknowledging Him as our King and Lord.

Palm Sunday is one of the Great feasts of the Orthodox Church and its celebration takes place on the Sunday before Easter or Pascha. It always falls on one of the dates between March 15 & April 18. This year in 2007, Palm Sunday is on April 1.

The Miracle of Resurrection

Lazarus was Jesus� friend. When he fell ill, Jesus was called. But before Jesus could reach Lazarus died. With tears in his eyes for his friend, Jesus Christ went to his tomb and brought him to life. This event revealed Jesus as �The resurrection and life � of all the mankind.

The feast of Palm Sunday commemorates the story of the triumphal entry of Jesus recorded in all four of the Gospels (Mark 11:1-11, Matthew 21:1-11, Luke 19:28-44 and John 12:12-19).

The feast is celebrated, but this day also marks Jesus� last week on Earth, which eventually follows crucifixion of Jesus Christ. So the day is celebrated with the realisation of the sad days that are soon to come.

On this Sunday a basket of woven palms crosses is placed in front of the icon of the Lord and a prayer for the blessing of the Palm (Ainoi) is read. The palms are then distributed among the followers who keep them in their home icon corner. In the Orthodox and Jacobite Churches, the palm leaves are burnt as part of the rituals during Christmas.

In some parts of the country where Palm is not available due to climatic conditions, boughs of yew, willow or leaves of other native trees like Olive is also used. The custom of using pussy willows instead of Palm fronds can be seen in countries like Russia and Ukraine, however the meaning of Palm Sunday stays the same..

Importance of Red Egg

At the end of the Divine Liturgy on Palm Sunday, the presentation of red eggs is a tradition. The red egg represents Christ in the tomb and the breaking of the eggs is symbolic of the resurrection. Slavic People and Greek families bring baskets containing bread, cheese, meat, eggs, butter and other foods to be blessed after the Divine Liturgy. According to the tradition, a candle is also lit to symbolising the Light of Christ. Fasting is also modified and fish is permitted due to the triumphant joyous mood of Palm Sunday.

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