This is the first Palm Sunday mass held at the monastery since 2020, when the mass was held to an empty hall due to Coronavirus restrictions. Today, the church was full.
Palm Sunday marks Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, where he was received by its people with palm leaves. In celebration, palm branches are spread in front of Egypt's churches and in the surrounding streets. Many people carry various types of leaves.
Furthermore, in commemoration of the event, the faithful adhere to a vegan fast 55 days ahead of Coptic Easter, which falls on the 16th of this month. Hence, Palm Sunday celebrates the last Sunday of the Great Lent or Great Fast, as well as the first Sunday of Holy Week. It is also the last day before Easter when Copts are permitted to eat sugar.
Holy Week includes Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, which is Easter's eve—when Copts usually go to church before gathering at night to celebrate and break their 55-day fast.
This year, the Holy Week and Coptic Easter fall in the same month as the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan, per the Gregorian calendar. This is the second consecutive year such an event has occurred in the past few decades. Furthermore, Eid-Al-Fitr, the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan, will occur in the same week as Coptic Easter, as well as Egypt's local holiday, Sham El-Neseem.