" ... They took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying, 'Hosanna!'" This passage from the Bible describes Jesus Christ's joyful welcome to Jerusalem, days before his death. Christians today continue to celebrate Christ's entrance into Jerusalem on what is now known as Palm Sunday. The feast also initiates what is known as Holy Week, or the week before Easter Sunday, which commemorates Christ's final days with his disciples and his death and resurrection.
Palm Trees and Branches
Decorate churches and homes with palm trees to commemorate the biblical passage. Palm branches are handed out during many Christian liturgies for the congregation to hold. Christian families can save their palm branches or return them to the church to be held until the next year, when the branches are burnt to provide ashes for Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. Catholic Supply has a variety of fan-shaped palm decorations that would be ideal for processions, altar decorations or wall decorations.
Many Christians make crosses out of palm branches to hang in their homes or in churches. The crosses are quite easy to make and require only one palm branch. The Armenian Church of Eastern America's website has step-by-step photos to illustrate the process. These decorations are also easy enough for children to make and are ideal for families.
Other acceptable plant decorations that are appropriate for Palm Sunday include olive branches and ferns, preferably ones of Mediterranean descent. Tulips and chrysanthemums are appropriate flowers; however, save Easter lilies for Easter Sunday.
A number of artists have depicted Christ's entry into Jerusalem, including Fra Angelico, Pietro Lorenzetti and James J. Tissot. Prints of these artworks can be ordered online.
Many Christian churches emphasize certain symbolic colors for feast days. The Catholic Church, for example, uses red on Palm Sunday to symbolize Christ's upcoming passion and death, as well as God's love for humanity. The priest wears red vestments, and altar decorations are usually red. Integrate these symbolic elements for more traditional and accurate decorations.
- jerusalem image by Claudia Liebram from Fotolia.com