Several hundred worshipers attended Palm Sunday processions in the West Bank and Jerusalem on (March 29), on the day that marks the start of Holy Week, which ends on Easter Sunday.
The faithful in Jerusalem waved palm fronds and branches commemorating the day the Bible says Jesus rode into Jerusalem to the cheers of the crowds the week before Christian believe he rose from the dead.
Palestinian Christians, worshipers, pilgrims and tourists, accompanied by scouts and clergymen, marched down the Mount of Olives while holding palm branches and chanting hymns.
"I think its great that so many people are here and that even though its 2,000 years ago that Jesus was here we can still ... we can honor him now and act as if he was here now and we can be together in unity and honor him and sing songs and and walk this way that he did," said Rebecca, a tourist visiting the city.
"We want to experience Palm Sunday in the holy land, but mostly just to see the people and know the cultures. This is really amazing, to see all different languages, know the different music for one religion or one purpose," said Carlisha Makoris, another tourist.
In Bethlehem, revered as the birthplace of Jesus, dozens chanted and carried palm fronds and branches as they walked across the cobblestone Manger Square towards the Church of the Nativity.
Anthony Habash, who is a resident of Bethlehem, said during Easter festivities, it is important to remember those across the Middle East suffering from conflict.
"Well, today we are celebrating the Palm Sunday and we are reviving what happened before 2,000 years, when Jesus entered Jerusalem and he was welcomed by the people of Jerusalem. Unfortunately, these days we are celebrating Palm Sunday and Easter while the whole Middle East is suffering; the children, the people of Iraq, of Gaza, even Yemen these days," he said.
"So, we pray in this Palm Sunday, we pray that God give us the strength, give the people, give the children, the joy to overcome all these suffering and all these horrible days that we are witnessing."
The procession ended at St. Anne's Church within the Old City's walls.
Palm Sunday is a holy day recalling Jesus' solemn entry into Jerusalem before his arrest and crucifixion.sign up to our newsletter