Originally, people paraded or processed in the original footsteps of Jesus from the little village of Bethany into the city of Jerusalem. As part of the festivities they carried real palm fronds or olive branches, the two most common trees in Palestine. Blessed palms have always been respected as holy objects or sacramentals. Some families place one or more on the wall behind a crucifix or holy picure until the next Palm Sunday. Before the beginning of Lent the following year, blessed palms are burned at the local church and the ashes used in the Ash Wednesday ritual.
[Source: Supplement to the Sunday Bulletin of February 3, 2008; St. Paul Parish, Saskatoon, SK, Canada.]