On Palm Sunday, Christians throughout the world celebrate the day Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem days before his crucifixion.
Crowds left palm fronds and clothing in his path as a sign of praise and respect.
But millions of American Christians will observe Palm Sunday at home this year, as the coronavirus pandemic has forced many US churches to hold services online.
Here’s what you need to know about the Sunday that launches the holiest days for the world’s Christians:
When is it celebrated?
Who celebrates Palm Sunday?
It is celebrated in all major Christian churches, including Roman Catholic and Protestant. In Orthodox churches, which follow the Julian calender, Palm Sunday is celebrated later.
Why does Palm Sunday matter to Christians?
The day marks Jesus’ monumental arrival in Jerusalem, the start of the march to his death on a wooden cross. It’s also known as Passion Sunday in honor of his suffering and death before his resurrection.
How is it observed?
Palm Sunday is often celebrated with processions and distribution of blessed palm leaves.
In some churches, the palms are saved and burned into ashes to be used on Ash Wednesday of the next year. Some Christians fold the palm fronds into crosses and keep them in their homes.