In our current cultural milieu, everyone is practically expected to shout their religious affiliation from the rooftops! Since I was born into a family that was Roman Catholic, I was destined to be involved in that very same church. Going to church wasn't enough apparently, I also had to attend parochial school, so I only had the privilege of public education for the 1st grade in grade school and the last two years of high school...3 years out of 12 of my life bound to a church that I never believed in!
Reason and intellect poked their ugly heads up quite early in my childhood, I was 7 years old when I rejected the religious teachings of that Roman Catholic Church and became an atheist. The only reason that I say the "ugly heads" of reason and intellect, is because that is how I was treated by my elders whenever I questioned the control the church beliefs had over them! One is not supposed to question, one is just supposed to have "faith"! Not this girl, that never satisfied me, I wanted total freedom to choose and investigate what my beliefs would be...my Mama just didn't understand! Thankfully, my Papa wasn't extremely religious, so at least he was an ally! Mama, on the other hand, tried, oh so hard, to make be a good girl! When I think back it makes me giggle a little...how could I be "bad" if I didn't feel guilty? It took me many years, until the very last summer of my Mother's life to hear her tell me that she was proud to have me as her daughter. I think now, if she were still alive, and could see what a debacle the church has turned into, she might even convert to my side! She certainly wouldn't have approved of what priests have done to innocent children worldwide...not my Mama, who had a soft spot for children and a desire for justice and equality for all.
So, to answer my question asked at the beginning of this rambling post, what does an atheist celebrate on Palm Sunday...freedom! Freedom to investigate prior to contempt! Freedom from fear of an unearthly being who, let's face it, seems pretty uncaring when those who do believe in him do horrible things! Freedom to love my fellow human beings just like one of my own family! Freedom to face a certain death without fear of an avenging god punishing or rewarding me for earthly transgressions or good deeds! Freedom to live my life and my beliefs, honoring my parents, loving my child, my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren, my life partner and everyone else in my life who accepts me for who I am! That's what I celebrate, freedom to be an atheist, me!