A mere few days before His crucifixion, Jesus Christ was received by adoring throngs at his entry into Jerusalem on the back of young donkey. The crowds threw palm branches (a symbol of victory) in his path in jubilation, and even the children shouted praises to Him.
The Orthodox celebrate this day with joy, but with the realization that very sad events are soon to come. Orthodox peoples who live in areas without palms, including the Russian Orthodox, use pussy willow branches rather than palms in the celebration of this event. Some churches give small crosses made of palms at the end of the service and are then kept in the home icon corner.
Fasting is modified because of the triumphant nature of Palm Sunday, and fish is permitted. Fried cod with garlic sauce and fried vegetables is a traditional dish, but any fish may be served.
- Palm Sunday article from the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
- Palm Sunday to Pascha: Orthodox Customs from the Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral (OCA)
- Palm Sunday According to the Byzantine Rite Tradition (Byzantine Catholic)