Donkeys have a special religious connection, non more so than on Palm Sunday that falls on the Sunday before Easter. This day commemorates the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem on a humble donkey (Matthew 21:1-9), when palm branches were placed in his path, before his arrest on Holy Thursday and his crucifixion on Good Friday. It thus marks the beginning of Holy Week, the final week of Lent.
In many Christian churches, Palm Sunday includes a procession of the assembled worshipers carrying palms, representing the palm branches the crowds scattered in front of Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem. The difficulty of procuring palms in unfavorable climates led to their substitution with branches of native trees, including box, yew, willow, and olive. The Sunday was often designated by the names of these trees, as in Yew Sunday, or by the general term Branch Sunday.
The symbolism of the donkey may refer to the Eastern tradition that it is an animal of peace, versus the horse, which is the animal of war. A king came riding upon a horse when he was bent on war and rode upon a donkey when he wanted to point out he was coming in peace. Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem would thus symbolize his entry as the Prince of Peace, not as a war-waging king.
Island Farm are proud to have donkeys attending several Palm Sunday Services leading the processions of the congregations. Check our events page to see if there is a donkey coming to your area. We have included times of the services but these may be subject to change so please check with your local church.
Some above information courtesy of Wikipedia
1. Matthew 19–28 by William David Davies, Dale C. Allison 2004
2. John 12–21 by John MacArthur 2008