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4 Interesting Palm Sunday traditions from around the world

Palm Sunday procession in Malaga, Spain

BigKnell | Shutterstock

Cerith Gardiner - published on 03/23/24

To remember Jesus' arrival into Jerusalem, different countries mark the occasion in some unique ways.

One of the joys of the Catholic religion is that the various feasts often inspire some very wonderful celebrations all over the Christian world. And this is just the case for Palm Sunday, which marks the first day of Holy Week.

If you take a look below, you can see some rather beautiful traditions adopted by countries far and wide, and you might even recognize some closer to home.

Jesus riding donkey on float Palm Sunday Spain

Spain: Procession of the donkey

In some regions of Spain, particularly in Catalonia, a unique Palm Sunday tradition involves a procession with a float with a representation Jesus riding on a donkey, or alternatively, where an actual donkey carries a statue of Jesus. The ceremony symbolizes Jesus’ humble entry into Jerusalem.

Ethiopia: Hosanna celebrations

Ethiopian Orthodox Christians celebrate Hosanna, their version of Palm Sunday, with colorful processions, hymns, and prayers. It’s a joyous occasion where palm branches are waved and traditional clothes are worn to honor Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Tzeltal woman weaving palm (pechulej) for palm sunday in Chiapas

Mexico: Palm weaving

In Mexico, particularly in villages and towns with indigenous populations, intricate palm weavings are created for Palm Sunday. These weavings often take the form of crosses, flowers, or other symbols and are used to decorate homes and churches.

Greece: Fish on the menu

Throughout Greece people will celebrate Christ’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem by eating fish, even though it is Lent and the Greek Orthodox abstain from fish (along with other foods, like meat) during these 40 days. This tradition stems from ancient Greek times when the palms in the form of a cross that we know today were handed out in the shape of a fish, one of the earliest signs of Christianity.

Catholic LifestylePalm SundayTraditions
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