When is Palm Sunday this year - and what does it signify?

Friday, 3rd April 2020, 2:28 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd April 2020, 2:29 pm
Palm Sunday is an important day on the Christian calendar in the run up to the Easter weekend, marking the start of Holy Week (Photo: Shutterstock)

Palm Sunday is an important day on the Christian calendar in the run up to the Easter weekend, marking the start of Holy Week.

Here’s everything to know about Palm Sunday, including this year’s date, what it means and how to get children involved with songs and activities.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

What is Palm Sunday and what’s the story behind it?

Palm Sunday marks the first day of Holy Week, which is the last week of Lent. Holy Week starts on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday.

Palm Sunday is observed from multiple denominations of Christianity, including Roman Methodists, Presbyterians and Roman Catholics. It is also sometimes known as Passion Sunday.

Palm Sunday celebrates the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.

According to Christian teaching, as he approached Jerusalem, he told two of his disciples to go into a nearby village and bring him a donkey on which he would then ride into the city.

When Jesus entered the city on the donkey, he was welcomed by people waving giant palm leaves.

This took place just days before his crucifixion, which happened on Good Friday. Good Friday, which lands on 10 April this year, is a Christian holiday which commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus at Calvary.

How do people observe Palm Sunday?

Christians observe a number of traditions on Palm Sunday.

It’s common for them to give out or receive small crosses made from palm leaves. Some burn these crosses at the end of the day and then save the ashes for Ash Wednesday the following year.

Ash Wednesday sees priests gather ashes - a symbol of death - from the previous Palm Sunday, and rub them on their congregants’ foreheads.

Processions, which are symbolic of the one that Jesus undertook, often take place on Palm Sunday. This usually happens ahead of a church service.

When is this year’s Palm Sunday?

Although Palm Sunday always falls on the Sunday before Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the date it lands on differs each year. This year, Palm Sunday falls on Sunday 5 April 2020.

Good Friday takes place on 10 April this year.

Easter Saturday, also known as Holy Saturday, celebrates the 40-hour-long vigil that the followers of Jesus Christ held after his death and burial on Good Friday, and before his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

This year, Easter Saturday falls on 11 April, with Easter Sunday being celebrated on 12 April 2020.

Activities and songs for kids to observe Palm Sunday

Make Palm Branches

You will need:Green paperScissorsPencils

Trace palm branches onto green paper using and cut out the green palm branches. You could then print and stick a verse from the Bible onto the branches.

Make Paper Plate Donkeys

You will need:Dinner-sized Paper PlatesPaint or CrayonsMaterial/FabricBrown YarnGlue

Fold the paper plates to make the donkeys. To make the head, fold a paper plate almost in half.Measure 3 3/4" in from the sides of the folded edge of the paper plate. Fold the sides back 3 3/4" to form the head shape. Glue or staple the sides together on the back.

To make the body, fold another paper plate in half. Then fold back and then forward 1 1/2" from the right-hand side of the folded edge. Unfold and push the edge down into the folded paper plate to form the rear of the donkey.

Glue the head to the body.

Then draw ears, legs, and a tail onto brown paper and cut them out.

Cut coat shapes from pieces of material, and cut brown yarn into short length for the donkey's mane.

Paint or color the paper plates, and glue on the ears, legs, tail, coat, and yarn.

Songs

- Hosanna In The Highest (Palm Sunday Version) – Sojourn- We Sing Hosanna - Maynard's Groovy Bible Tunes- O worship the King – Passion- Sing Hosanna – Joshua Blakesley- Hosanna In The Highest - Christian Song