It is presumed that the Palm Sunday celebration originated in the churches of Jerusalem sometime during the third or fourth century and marked the beginning of the holy week preceding Easter. By the fifth century, the Palm Sunday celebration had spread as far as Constantinople. Changes made in the sixth and seventh centuries resulted in two new Palm Sunday traditions. The ritual blessing of the palms and a morning procession instead of an evening one became the new norm. Adopted by the Western Church in the eighth century, the celebration received the name “Dominica in Palmis,” or “Palm Sunday”.
In modern times the Palm Sunday celebrations has spread throughout the Christian world. The rituals vary from region to region and denomination to denomination. Because many of the climates are not favorable for palm trees, the churches in these areas have had to substitute other tree branches for their services. Some of the trees consist of box, willow and yew which have influenced the name of the day. Rather then being called Palm Sunday in those areas the designated name might be Yew Sunday or just the general name of Branch Sunday.