Palms to celebrate Jesus were used because they meant success in the Roman Empire. Before the Last Supper when Jesus entered Jerusalem the crowd ”cut down branches from the trees, and strawed _them_ in the way” according to Matthew 21:8. Palm ashes from the previous year’s Palm Sunday are used on Ash Wednesday. Additionally in 1969 Pope Paul VI proclaimed in The General Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar “Lent lasts from Ash Wednesday to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper exclusive.
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