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What's Palm Sunday?

It can be hard to keep track of the many religious holidays. For Christians, Easter the day Jesus is said to have risen from the dead is preceded by several worship-worthy events. There's Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and Palm Sunday, which is coming up this weekend.

Although we don't know the date of the actual event, Palm Sunday is celebrated on the Sunday before Easter. Also called Passion Sunday, it commemorates Jesus entering Jerusalem for his anointment as King. (As we know in present-day politics, however, wanting to elect a leader doesn't always mean you have the votes to do so. And in this case, instead of becoming King, Jesus is said to have been crucified.)

The story goes that Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem on that auspicious day with leaves from date palm trees a common tree in Jerusalem, which symbolized victory. Palm leaves were laid down like a red carpet for Jesus, riding on a donkey, to pass over, and waved as fans.

That's why it's called Palm Sunday. And if you celebrate this day, you know that palm leaves are typically given out during Palm Sunday services. Some keep the palms, braiding them and using them as sacred decorations in their homes.

The biblical account can be found in the New Testament in Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19.