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(NECN/APTN: East Jerusalem) - Christians singing hymns and bearing palm fronds commemorated Palm Sunday in East Jerusalem with a mass and tradition procession at the Mount of Olives.
Palm Sunday marks the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey as recounted in the Bible, greeted by cheering crowds bearing palm fronds.
"Palm Sunday is a great celebration. We are joining in spirit the entry of Jesus to Jerusalem," said priest Father Keeley, who had traveled from Ireland to participate in the procession through the holy city.
Thousands of pilgrims and local Christians gathered in Jerusalem's Old City to attend mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, traditionally held to be the site of Jesus' crucifixion. After the mass, the crowd gathered at the Mount of Olives for the traditional procession from the mount into Jerusalem's Old City, carrying palm fronds, singing and dancing.
The tens of thousands of pilgrims marched along the trail with the Dome of the Rock in the background, some wearing religious costumes or waving their countries' flags.
Palm Sunday is the start of Christian Holy Week. It continues with Good Friday, marking Jesus' crucifixion and death, and Easter Sunday, celebrating his resurrection.
The holy week is celebrated by Christians and Orthodox Christians, who use different calendars, coinciding this year.
Material courtesy of APTN.