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Palm Sunday in Australia

Many Christians living in Australia remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week. This day is also on the Sunday before Easter Sunday.

Is Palm Sunday a Public Holiday?

Palm Sunday is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday, April 14, 2019 and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in Australia.

Cross palms

Palms are offered to people at many church services on Palm Sunday.

©iStockphoto.com/duckycards

What Do People Do?

Many churches in Australia, particularly the Catholic churches, have Palm Sunday services (or mass) to celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. It is also a time for Christians to remember Jesus’ suffering before his death and resurrection. Priests bless palms before distributing them to the congregation. They sometimes come in the shape of a cross and may be used to make Ash Wednesday ashes for the next year.

Catholic schools may have special lessons about the meaning, traditions and history of Palm Sunday as part of their religious teachings. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia recognizes the Saturday of Lazarus from a liturgical viewpoint as the pre-feast of Palm Sunday. Both Palm Sunday and the Saturday of Lazarus have a common theme – triumph and victory.

Public Life

Palm Sunday is not a federal holiday in Australia. However, it is held on a Sunday, which is a non-school day and non-working day for many Australians. Public transport services run to the usual Sunday schedules and many businesses, particularly in rural Australia, are often closed. However, some businesses, including retail shops, remain open in areas where there is Sunday trading, particularly in large cities.

Background and Symbols

Many churches in Australia observe Palm Sunday as part of Holy Week. Many churches, particularly the Greek Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, traditionally observed this day over the years. It is important to note that some parts of Australia have a large Greek community, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney. Many Greek Orthodox churches celebrate Palm Sunday at a later date than the date observed by many western churches. This is because many Greek Orthodox churches still use the Julian calendar, which predates the Gregorian calendar used in Australia.

Palm Sunday is a time to reflect on victory, joy and peace so many Australians have historically used the day as an opportunity to take part in peace parades or protests that allow them to voice their opinions on issues such as war, uranium, and nuclear disarmament.

About Palm Sunday in other countries

Read more about Palm Sunday.

Palm Sunday Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015SunMar 29Palm SundayChristian
2016SunMar 20Palm SundayChristian
2017SunApr 9Palm SundayChristian
2018SunMar 25Palm SundayChristian
2019SunApr 14Palm SundayChristian
2020SunApr 5Palm SundayChristian
2021SunMar 28Palm SundayChristian
2022SunApr 10Palm SundayChristian
2023SunApr 2Palm SundayChristian
2024SunMar 24Palm SundayChristian
2025SunApr 13Palm SundayChristian

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