Children participate in a Palm Sunday procession in Algeciras, Spain. Photo: Algecireno
Commemorating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem a week before the day of his resurrection, the blessing of the palms and the procession are documented in Jerusalem as early as the fourth century in an early-medieval travelogue entitled The Pilgrimage of Egeria.
Egeria was a Spanish or Gaulish nun-perhaps even an abbess-who made a grand tour of the Holy Land, Egypt and Asia Minor circa 381-84.
She was present in Jerusalem at Eastertide and describes in detail various ceremonies taking place during Holy Week, including a procession with palms to the Mount of Olives and the veneration of the cross.