Palm Sunday takes its name from the Gospel account of Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem—a week before his arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection—when adoring crowds laid palm fronds in his path. It became customary to reenact this procession prior to Mass on the Sunday before Easter.
The palm fronds used are often blessed and carried home to be hung above doorways or tucked behind holy pictures until the following year. On Ash Wednesday, the old palms are burned and the ashes used to mark foreheads as an emblem of mortality and humility, a fitting symbol of the turning of the annual cycle from triumph and glory to death and decay. Continue reading