As part of “Palm Sunday”, priests and others went in a procession carrying palm leaves at Vailankanni, a famous Christian pilgrim centre in Tamil Nadu. Throughout the week, the 17th century shrine would see a stream of pilgrims, wearing saffron saris and loin cloths.
Also, several people undertake a “padayatra” to the church from all over the state travelling for days on foot. On their arrival at Vailankanni, they get their heads tonsured as thanksgiving. Several Hindus also take part in the padayatra and Easter celebrations.
The events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus are considered holy for the Christians and they celebrate the whole week preceding Easter as ‘Holy Week’. Special prayers were held at the New Jerusalem church, Tarangambadi, which is the oldest protestant church in Asia.
Palm Sunday observed in southern districts
Palm Sunday was celebrated in its usual fervour at various places of the southern districts on Sunday. Palm Sunday is a Christian festival that is celebrated on the previous Sunday of Easter as it marks Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.
Christians across the world take out processions with palms in their hands symbolising the historic event. At Madurai, Christians went in a procession at Anna Nagar with palm leaves in their hands.
Men dressed as Christ were seen riding on horses with a large cross in their hands. They also claimed that they offered prayers for good rains in Madurai. At Palayamkottai in Tiruneveli, members of CSI and Catholics carried out a procession, singing hymns all the way. A large number of Christians participated in it. At Thoothukudi, a special procession was organised at Our Lady of Snows Shrine Basilica.
The procession covered all the important streets around the Basilica. Members of the procession said that their 40-day fast had commenced on March 1 and the festival would conclude with Good Friday and Easter celebrations.