The principal ceremonies of the day are the benediction of the palms, the procession, the Mass, and during it the singing of the Passion. On the altar branches of palms are placed between the candlesticks instead of flowers ordinarily used.
The Gospel describes the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem when the populace cut boughs from the trees and strewed them as He passed, crying, Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Palm branches have been used by all nations as an emblem of joy and victory over enemies; in Christianity as a sign of victory over the flesh and the world according to Psalm 91:13, Justus ut palma florebit; hence especially associated with the memory of the martyrs. The palms blessed on Palm Sunday are used in the procession of the day, then taken home by the faithful and used as a sacramental. They are preserved in prominent places in the house, in the barns, and in the fields, and thrown into the fire during storms.