Palm Sunday

detail of a painting of the entrance to Jerusalem by Fra Angelico, c.1450, Museo di San Marco, Florence, ItalyAlso known as

  • Blossom Sunday
  • Blumensonntag
  • Blumentag
  • Branch Sunday
  • Dies Palmarum
  • Dies floridus
  • Dominica Palmarum
  • Dominica capitilavium
  • Dominica competentium
  • Dominica florida
  • Dominica in Palmis
  • Dominica indulgentioe
  • Fig Sunday
  • Flower Sunday
  • Lazarus Sunday
  • Olive Sunday
  • Pascha floridum
  • Pâques fleuries
  • Sallow Sunday
  • Sunday of the Willow Boughs
  • Willow Sunday
  • Yew Sunday


Sunday before Easter, the sixth and last of Lent, and the beginning of Holy Week, commemorating Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem when olive and palm branches were strewn in His path. Before the Mass of the day the Palms are to be solemnly blessed. In connection with this blessing a procession is prescribed. The palms which have just been blessed are carried in the hands of the participants in the procession. It leaves the church proper, and should move entirely about the outer circumference of the church, where this is feasible. Before re-entering the church two chanters enter, and behind closed doors sing or chant the Gloria laus et honor, awaiting the answer from those still outside the door. The Cross-bearer strikes the door with the foot of the Cross, whereupon the door is opened and the procession enters. According to Almar this procession was already in vogue in the 9th century. There is no trace of it in Rome so early. However, in the Middle Ages it was quite common everywhere. In the 16th century the procession was often dramatic in its arrangements; it was almost a pageant in severai places in Germany, and many of the processions went from one church to another at some distance. The way was often strewn with cloths of rare texture in imitation of what was done on the first Palm Sunday. Other bits of pageantry were the figure of the Christ riding on an ass. The palms, when burned, supply the ashes for distribution on Ash Wednesday of the next year.

Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Palm Sunday”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 11 September 2021. Web. 20 October 2021. <>