Palm Sunday for kids
April 1st is Palm Sunday, the beginning of the Holy Week. Will you be attending any services or following any traditions?
by Steven McKinnon, Mindful Mum, March 31st 2012
- What is Palm Sunday?
- How is Palm Sunday celebrated?
- Palm Sunday around the world
- Celebrating Palm Sunday with your child
Palm Sunday is the first day of the Christian Holy Week, when Christians all over the world celebrate Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem and commemorate the last week of his life, as well as his death and resurrection.
Palm Sunday is so called because people waved palm leaves as Jesus entered Jerusalem.
Holy Week ends on Easter Sunday.
Palm Sunday is often celebrated with special church services, in which large palm branches are carried during processions. Traditional hymns are also sung, such as Ride on, Ride on in Majesty and All Glory, Laud and Honour.
For the little ones, the hymn We have a King who Rides a Donkey is often incorporated into services.
Crosses made from palm leaves are also fashioned, which are then burned at the start of Lent the following year, creating the ash for Ash Wednesday.
Small buns called pax cakes (in Latin, ‘pax’ means ‘peace’) may be handed out as well, after the service has concluded.
Many countries observe Palm Sunday, and all have different ways of celebrating. Here are just a few practices and traditions:
- In Kerala, southern India, Palm Sunday is celebrated by throwing flowers during the reading of the Gospel.
- A tradition in Spain is to tie and cover palm leaves until they turn white, then dye them and braid them into shapes.
- In Malta, blessed olive branches are thought to ward off disease.
- Many places in Poland hold artificial palm competitions, where the palm leaves often exceed 30 metres in length!
- Some areas of the Philippines re-enact Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The priest rides a horse and is surrounded by members of the congregation, each of whom bear palms.
Are you taking your child to church this Palm Sunday, or following any traditions at home? Why not let them help you bake some pax cakes, using our recipe below?
- One egg, beaten
- 1 cup of sour or butter milk
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- ½ cup of whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup of wheat germ
- ¼ cup of white flour
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon of soda
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- Put all the ingredients into a bowl, and beat until smooth.
- Grease a warm skillet or griddle, and pour the batter mixture onto it, in roughly 5 centimetre dollops.
- When you see bubbles forming, turn the cakes over.
- Heat on this side until the buns turn golden-brown.
- Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, or anything else that takes your fancy, and serve!