How We Celebrate Domingo de Ramos with Our Children
Ready to add depth and cultural relevance to your celebration of the Easter season? Simply explore Palm Sunday amongst Hispanics.
Embracing the Catholic traditions so vital in our Hispanic world will help you express your own Latino heritage and explain it to your American friends and family.
Meaning of Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday commemorates the day when Jesus publicly displayed his status as the Messiah by fulfilling an Old Testament prophecy.
On the Sunday before the crucifixion, Jesus rode into Jerusalem mounted on a young donkey, just as Zechariah 9:9 said that the Messiah would. All the people of the city welcomed him, spreading their cloaks and palm fronds on the ground before him in a victory procession fit for a king.
How We -Hispanics Celebrate
On Palm Sunday, Catholic Hispanics recreate the experience of recognizing Jesus as the Messiah that took place in Jerusalem all those years ago.
First, we attend a special ceremony outside the church before Mass to bless palm fronds or tree branches. Lots of people weave their palm fronds into shapes like braids or crosses before the ceremony.
Usually the blessing includes a reading of the story of Palm Sunday from one of the Gospels. Then we go inside with our palm fronds and hear the Mass, including a reading of the Passion.
After Mass there will be a procession through the streets of the town, recreating Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. This is a very special moment for families because we participate with our children in the procession and they love it.
Everyone waves their palm fronds as the icons pass by on the floats, shouting “Hosanna” just as the people of Jerusalem did.
One special point about Palm Sunday amongst Hispanics is that most Hispanic countries have palm trees, so real palm fronds can add an extra layer of authenticity to the reenactments.
I remember we had a couple of small palm trees outside our home in Medellin, where I grew up, and my mom simply cut a couple of palm leaves to hand to us right before the procession. That was it, we were all set.
Palm Sunday is only one piece of our big celebration of Holy Week or Semana Santa.
Palm Sunday for Kids
Fun activities for Palm Sunday with kids abound, but first you want to make sure kids understand the meaning and the spirit of the holiday.
I start this process by reading the story of Palm Sunday from one of the Gospels (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; or John 12:12-19).
One caveat, a modern Bible translation is best because it uses words kids can relate to, otherwise you will lose them in the process. For very young kids, look for a children’s book that tells the story with words and pictures.
Reenacting Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem is my favorite part because it helps kids understand the events and meaning of this day.
If you like traveling during Easter, this is a perfect way to mix vacationing in a Latin American country like Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Guatemala amongst others, where you can mix beaches and true Latino Eastern traditions seamlessly.
Some of the best times you can enjoy in Latin America is during Holy Week in Guatemala, Semana Santa in Mompox -Colombia and Holy Week in Peru.
If you plan on staying in the U.S., use puppets or else and let kids put on a play where they take turns being the donkey, Jesus, the disciples, and the citizens of Jerusalem.
When it comes to Palm Sunday crafts, find coloring book pages for little kids, as well as cut-out paper palm frond patterns and palm weaving tutorials for older kids. You can even create a little Palm Sunday figurine set from modeling clay, similar to what you might make for a nativity set.
As you celebrate, remember that this is a joyous occasion. Celebrating Palm Sunday amongst Hispanics allow kids to get creative and imaginative with their Palm Sunday crafts and reenactments, letting them enjoy the holiday.