|Traditions:While many are celebrating Easter Sunday on April 5th, Russian Orthodox church will be celebrating Palm Sunday, with Russian Orthodox Easter on April 12th. The Russian Orthodox church uses the Julian calendar to calculate its «moveable feasts» of which Easter is one. Most of the rest of the world (including the USA) uses the Gregorian calendar.
On this day the Church celebrates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before the Jewish Passover. The Orthodox celebrate this day with joy, but with the realization that very sad events are soon to come. Orthodox peoples who live in areas without palms, including the Russian Orthodox , use pussy willow branches rather than palms in the celebration of this event. Therefore in the Russian Church this feast is called Вербное (Pussy Willow) Воскресенье (Sunday).
In Russia, donkey walk processions took place in different cities, but most importantly in Novgorod and, since 1558 until 1693, in Moscow. It was prominently featured in testimonies by foreign witnesses and mentioned in contemporary Western maps of the city. The Patriarch of Moscow, representing Christ, rode on a «donkey» (actually a horse draped in white cloth); the Tsar of Russia humbly led the procession on foot. Originally, Moscow processions began inside the Kremlin and terminated at Trinity Church, now known as Saint Basil’s Cathedral, but in 1658 Patriarch Nikon reversed the order of procession. Peter I, as a part of his nationalisation of the church, terminated the custom; it has been occasionally recreated in the 21st century.
Fasting is modified because of the triumphant nature of Palm Sunday, and fish is permitted.