Besides being a symbol for tropical islands and carefree days under the sun, the palm leaf has been used in symbolism since Roman times, as well as a part of many religious practices.
During Roman times, palm leaves signaled victory in battle. Leaders gave palm leaves as rewards to those who had won games. They also gave them to those who returned home successfully from war.
Christianity adopted the Roman tradition of palm leaves as a symbol of victory. However, in Christianity, palm leaves represent victory for the faithful against those who want to claim their soul. Palm leaves are most often given to martyrs. On Palm Sunday, religious leaders hand out palm leaves to represent Jesus entering Jerusalem.
In Judaism, the religious use date palms. It represents peace and plenty. The palm leaf, along with myrtle, willow and a citron fruit, make up the Four Species, or the lulav. The lulav is waved around during the Jewish holiday called Sukkot. It is one of the religion's most joyous holidays.