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British Life & Culture

Special Events and Celebrations

by Mandy Barrow

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Palm Sunday
Woodlands Junior School is in the south-east corner of England

Palm Sunday is the sixth and last Sunday of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week.

The date for Palm Sunday 2014 is 13 April

Holy Week is the week before Easter, commemorating events in the last days of Jesus' life on Earth. It begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Monday.

Special Days in Holy Week.

  • Palm Sunday the day Jesus arrived in Jerusalem.
  • Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday), Last Supper and the betrayal by Judas.
  • Good Friday (Holy Friday), the arrest, trial, crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus Christ.
  • Holy Saturday, the Sabbath on which Jesus rested in the grave.

Palm Sunday is a time of celebration as well as sadness because Jesus died on a cross less than a week after he had entered Jerusalem.

What is Palm Sunday?

The Sunday before Easter is known as Palm Sunday. It celebrates Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem for the Jewish festival of Passover. Great crowds of people lined the streets waving palm branches to welcome him. The people were very excited. They spread branches on the road – and even laid down their clothes. They shouted 'Hosanna!' which means 'Save us Now!'

We wave our UK flags at parades. They waved palm branches.

Why is it called Palm Sunday?

The Sunday before Easter is called Palm Sunday because the crowds waved palm branches as they followed Jesus' procession into Jerusalem.

Why did Jesus go to Jerusalem?

It was the time of the Jewish feast of Passover. Many Jews travelled to Jerusalem to celebrate this feast together.

What happens on Palm Sunday in England?

On Palm Sunday, children are given crosses made from single palm leaves. Traditionally, many churches will have a procession in or around the church while people sing songs of praise and wave palm leaves. This is to help them imagine what Jesus' entry into Jerusalem might have been like.

Pax Cakes

In some English churches small buns called pax cakes (symbolic of peace and goodwill) are given to the congregation as they leave after a Palm Sunday service.

Palm Sunday also has the nick name 'Fig Sunday' because Christ had wanted to eat some when travelling to Jerusalem (Mark 11: 12-14). Figs were once traditionally eaten on this day.

What happens to any Palm crosses left over?

Any left over Palm Crosses are kept and burned to make ashes for next years Ash Wednesday services (see Ash Wednesday )

Palm Sunday Story for Kids - The King is Coming

Easter Resources for Teachers

Palm Sunday
Customs and Traditions in England

In some areas of the country Palm Sunday was a traditional day for visiting wells and leaving an offering for the spirit of the well. In some places pins were dropped in the wells whilst in other places rags were hung around the wells. It was thought by doing this the spirit of the well would keep the water fresh and clean.

Sallow, or pussy willow, was used in many places as a palm substitute, and was commonly known as English Palm amongst country folk. Box, yew, hazel, common willow and daffodils (Lent Lilies) were other alternatives in the days before palm was easily available as an import from Spain.


Bula Vinaka(Hello) from Fiji,

I belong with the Methodist Congregation, our children are well into their preparation for Palm Sunday which falls on the 5th of April. To the children, this is an exciting occasion where they recite their memory verses, present a scene about the ‘Triumphal Entrance of Jesus’, group singing etc. This will be a day where all children across the country is seen to be wearing white, which we believe represents, purity, innocence, cleanliness or just suits little children wearing it. On this Sunday, its mostly the children that conduct the whole service for 10.00am and 4.00pm


Wilisoni Foiakau.



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Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and 
are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant. 
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.