10 ways people celebrate Palm Sunday around the worldApril 01, 2022 | Last Updated April 12, 2022
Palm Sunday is a Christian holiday. As you might have guessed from the name, it’s on a Sunday — always the Sunday before Easter. That’s because it’s meant to commemorate Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem, also a week before Easter Sunday.
Palm leaves (also know as palm fronds) are important on this day. It is said people lined the streets with the leaves to welcome Jesus.
Those are the basics of the holiday, but people around the world have very different ways of celebrating it.
Palm trees don’t grow in Poland so people make artificial palm leaves, decorating them with tissue paper flowers and ribbons. Some of these fake palms can be higher than 30 metres and need multiple people to carry them! There are competitions for the best ones.
People in the Philippines will decorate and weave palm fronds into complicated shapes, called palaspas (say 'pal-a-spawce'). They’re blessed at a church and brought home for luck.
People in Norway decorate their homes with birch twigs and painted eggs for Palm Sunday. Lots of places have the week before Easter off and people will travel to cottages for skiing, reading and family time.
Chicks and eggs are common symbols of Easter, but in the Netherlands, it’s all about the rooster. In some towns, kids have a procession where they carry crosses decorated with ribbons. On top of them is a rooster made out of bread.
Pussy willows are a lot easier to find in Latvia than palms, so the day is known as Pussy Willow Sunday. Parents even wake kids up on the Sunday with pretend swats from the willow branches!
Many celebrations on the island of Haiti are a mixture of Catholic and local Voodoo traditions. They can involve processions and travelling bands playing drums, maracas and trumpets.
Trick-or-treating isn’t just for Halloween! In Finland, kids dress up as Easter witches and go round to houses offering willow branches in exchange for candy.
Christians in Ethiopia call Palm Sunday Hosanna (say 'ho-san-nah'), after the cheer people were said to have greeted Jesus with when he arrived. People weave palm fronds into elaborate rings to wear on the day.
Willow branches are a big part of the celebration in Bulgaria along with flowers. Palm Sunday is more often called Flower Day because of all the springtime blooms. People will make wreaths of pussy willows and flowers and decorate their homes, often having big family dinners on the day.
In some towns, there are Palm Sunday processions and kids go door-to-door offering palm leaves in exchange for coins.