Christians around the world marked Palm Sunday, the day the Bible says Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to cheering crowds.

Palm Sunday is the start of Holy Week – the period leading up to Easter – commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In Spain Holy Week, or Semana Santa, is the most important religious period of the year. Processions featuring hooded figures are held on the streets of almost every city. Processions start on Palm Sunday and continue until Easter Sunday.

palm sunday spain holy week
Members of the Borriquita brotherhood march during celebrations marking Palm Sunday in Seville, southern SpainCristina Quicler/AFP
palm sunday spain holy week
A member of the Borriquita (Little She-Donkey) brotherhood wears a black hood (known as a nazareno) during a Palm Sunday procession in SevilleCristina Quicler/AFP
palm sunday spain holy week
Penitents in the Salud brotherhood stand outside a church as they take part in a Palm Sunday procession in MalagaJon Nazca/Reuters
palm sunday spain holy week
Estrella Ruiz, 10, cries as she is embraced by her father Juanlo while he carries a float bearing the statue of the Virgin inside a church in MalagaJon Nazca/Reuters
palm sunday antonio banderas
Spanish actor Antonio Banderas sings a song to the Virgin as he takes part as a penitent in the Lagrimas and Favores brotherhood during a Palm Sunday procession at the start of Holy Week in Malaga, southern SpainJon Nazca/Reuters
palm sunday spain holy week
Women wearing traditional mantillas stand outside a church in Malaga before they take part in a Palm Sunday processionJon Nazca/Reuters
palm sunday spain holy week
Members of the Brotherhood of Gentlemen Legionnaires of Asturias walk along a street in Oviedo, northern Spain, before taking part in the Palm Sunday procession of the Estudiantes brotherhoodEloy Alonso/Reuters
palm sunday spain holy week
People drop rose petals on a statue of Christ on the cross during the Palm Sunday procession of the Estudiantes brotherhood in Oviedo, northern SpainEloy Alonso/Reuters
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Girls hold palm leaves blessed during the morning Mass at the Cathedral of San Cristobal de La Laguna on the Spanish Canary island of Tenerife during a procession commemorating the arrival of Jesus in JerusalemDesiree Martin/AFP

Several hundred worshippers attended Palm Sunday processions in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Palestinian Christians, worshippers, pilgrims and tourists, accompanied by scouts and clergymen, marched down the Mount of Olives while holding palm branches and chanting hymns.

"I think its great that so many people are here and that even though its 2,000 years ago that Jesus was here we can still like honour him now and act as if he was here now and we can be together in unity and honour him and sing songs and and walk this way that he did," said Rebecca, a tourist.

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Members of the Catholic clergy take part in a Palm Sunday procession on the Mount of Olives in JerusalemRonen Zvulun/Reuters
palm sunday spain holy week
Catholic worshippers hold palm fronds and olive branches during a Palm Sunday procession at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old CityRonen Zvulun/Reuters

Pope Francis led the world's Roman Catholics in Palm Sunday celebrations by paying tribute to those killed for their faith, a reference to the victims of Islamic State militants.

He also paid tribute to the victims of the Germanwings plane crash by asking Catholics to pray for the 150 people killed in the disaster.

Palm Sunday pope
Pope Francis holds a palm frond as he celebrates the Palm Sunday Mass at St. Peter's Square at the VaticanFranco Origlia/Getty Images

Large Palm Sunday celebrations were held in many predominantly-Catholic countries around the world.

In this gallery, we look at some of the more striking traditions, including a rather gory reenactment of the crucifixion, in Croatia, and Catholic priests blessing forests of palm fronds in the Philippines.

palm sunday croatia
Actors playing Roman soldiers reenact the scourging of Jesus as he carries his cross during a Passion play in Imotski, south CroatiaAntonio Bronic/Reuters
palm sunday croatia
Actors recreate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ during a Passion play in Imotski, south Croatia, on Palm SundayAntonio Bronic/Reuters
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A Catholic priest sprays holy water on churchgoers' palm fronds during Palm Sunday mass in Baclaran, Paranaque, the PhilippinesRomeo Ranoco/Reuters
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A Filipino Catholic priest sprinkles holy water to bless churchgoers' palm fronds during Palm Sunday mass inside the Mother of Perpetual Church in Baclaran, ParanaqueRomeo Ranoco/Reuters
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Catholics leaving a Palm Sunday mass walk past the ruins of the Notre Dame de l' Assomption cathedral (Our lady of Assumption), destroyed in the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010, in Port-au-Prince, HaitiAndres Martinez Casares/Reuters
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Catholics attend the Palm Sunday service in Port Harcourt, River State, NigeriaAfolabi Sotunde/Reuters
palm sunday spain holy week
Catholics participate in the Palm Sunday procession in Suchitoto, El SalvadorJose Cabezas/Reuters
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A statue of Jesus Christ is left in a chapel before the Palm Sunday procession in Suchitoto, El SalvadorJose Cabezas/Reuters
palm sunday belarus
A woman prays on a hill planted with wooden crosses after a procession celebrating Palm Sunday in the town of Oshmiany, northwest of Minsk, BelarusVasily Fedosenko/Reuters
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A wooden statue of Jesus riding a donkey is carried through the village of Ammerscwhir in eastern France during the Palm Sunday processionSebastien Bozon/AFP