Indore: Beginning the Holy Week, Christians in city celebrated Palm Sunday with religious fervour on Sunday. However, citizens were taken by surprise in the morning when they witnessed, probably for the first time, Rev Fr Thomas Rajamanikam of Nandanagar church leading the Palm Sunday procession sitting on colt of a donkey.
Around two thousand years ago Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem on this day, the place where he would suffer and be condemned to death. Though it was the practice those days for a king to enter their kingdom on horseback after victory, Jesus instead entered the city of Jerusalem on a donkey in order to conquer sin and death and free his people from bondage.
Despite the set-up being a modern city of 21st century with no resemblance of that time and space, the depiction of the emancipating act added more to the festive fervour and also, generated enough enthusiasm among the onlookers as the procession proceeded ahead shouting ‘Hosannas’ (liberate us) and ‘hail the king’ and parish members placing palms and olive leaves on the way to welcome the divine king Jesus.
The programme was organised by Nandanagar parish which saw attendance of a large number of people from different communities as well. Other churches in the city also commemorated the historic event recorded in each of the four canonical Gospels with traditional rituals and grand feast.
Talking about the festival, Fr Biju Mathew said “This Sunday is one of the most important days in the Christian calendar and marks the beginning of Holy Week, immediately preceding the week of events leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection.”
He explained that “Palm Sunday derived its name from the palm branches. Crowd of people had waved and strewn branches of palm in the path of Jesus as he entered Jerusalem for the Passover riding on a donkey. They shouted ‘Hosanna’ believing that Jesus was the Messiah coming to free them from Roman oppression.”
As a symbol of their faith and devotion, Christians kept palm crosses, which are distributed during Palm Sunday service and hung them in their houses for the coming year. Discussing the festivities, celebrant of the day Fr Simon Raj said “The waving of palms was significant in those days in Jerusalem because the Romans used to give palms to those who were victorious in their games like chariot races, gladiatorial games, military conquests and the crowning of Caesars.”
Following the morning events, preparations for Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, and Spy Wednesday began. The faithful will observe fast and hold special prayers in the next week till Easter, marking Christ’s resurrection after crucifixion on Good Friday.
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