Christians from around the world carried symbolic palms Sunday in honor of the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem before his crucfiixion.

Palm Sunday marks the start of religious observances during the Holy Week and prepares churchgoers for the coming Easter Sunday, which is celebrated as the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Orthodox Christians commemorate Palm Sunday the following week.

Perhaps the biggest celebrations will be held in Jerusalem itself, where Christ was greeted by throngs of people waving palm leaves to symbolize his arrival.

Most Christians convert the palm fronds into crosses, bows or rosettes which they hold during Palm Sunday mass and the procession. These crosses will then be burned the following year and its ashes will be used on Ash Wednesday.

The symbol is to remind us of that journey and of Holy Week and the events leading up to his crucifixion, churchgoer Melissa Sheridan was quoted as saying by The Daily Reflector. This is why we make them into crosses. It becomes more symbolic of the crucifixion.

Pope Benedict XVI, having just returned from Cuba, inaugurated the occasion in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.

Here is a gallery of pictures of Palm Sunday celebrations: