Christians in Kerala celebrate Palm Sunday

Christians across Kerala celebrated Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of the holy week before Easter, by attending church and offering special prayers. Churches distribute palms to commemorate Jesus Christ's entry into Jerusalem, when palm branches were placed in his path before his arrest and crucifixion on Good Friday.

'Since last evening we were all busy collecting palms to be distributed during today's (Sunday's) mass. Normally these are either cut from the coconut trees in the church compound or are brought by the devotees,' said Kurian Punnoose who conducted a mass at an Orthodox church near Kottayam.

A Mar Thoma church priest said: 'This is one Sunday when even the non-regular church-goers come. Devotees keep the palms (collected from the church) near the picture of Jesus Christ in their homes.'

Christians account for 23 percent of Kerala's 32 million population.