On Sunday, 13 April, Christians, both Western and Orthodox, celebrated Palm Sunday, which commemorates the triumphal return of Jesus to Jerusalem. It also signals the beginning of the Holy Week, which leads up to Easter, the most significant celebration of the spiritual year for many Christians. This year, the Orthodox and Western calendars coincide and all Christians celebrate Easter at the same time.
Palm leaves, branches of native shrubs or leaves of trees in countries where palms do not grow, were carried in processions, used as decorations or weaved and knotted in religious symbols to mark this significant day on the spiritual calendars.
After today’s celebrations, small remnants of the decorations will adorn special places in the houses of the faithful all over the world as both a blessing and a reminder, until Palm Sunday of the year to come.
A layman of the Roman Catholic Church blesses palms during Palm Sunday celebrations in Manila.
AFP / Photo / Jay Directo
Iraqi Christian youth gather at the St. Joseph church in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, to celebrate Palm Sunday.
AFP / Photo / Safin Hamed
Orthodox nuns carry palm branches and flowers during a procession on the eve of Palm Sunday from Mt. of Olives into Jerusalem’s Old City.
AFP / Photo / Gali Tibbon
Indian Christians collect palm leaves for a Palm Sunday service at Wesley Church in Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad.
AFP / Photo / Noah Seelam
Russian Orthodox Church faithful hold pussy-willow branches to mark the celebration of Palm Sunday in Holy Myrrhbearers Cathedral in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.
AFP / Photo / Tofik Babayev
Pope Francis greets the crowd at the end of the Palm Sunday celebrations at St Peter’s square at the Vatican.
AFP / Photo / Alberto Pizzoli
A Greek Orthodox cleric takes part in the Palm Sunday celebrations at the Church of the Nativity in the Biblical West Bank city of Bethlehem.
AFP / Photo / Musa Al-Shaer
Altar boys walk in the street during Palm Sunday celebrations in the center of Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
AFP / Photo / Ludovic Marin
Syrian Christian scouts take part in the Palm Sunday celebrations in the capital Damascus.
AFP / Photo / Louai Beshara