"They took branches of palm trees and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” John 12:13.
Each Palm Sunday we take part in a traditional boundary walk to celebrate Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. This year it fell on Sunday 2nd April.
What is Palm Sunday?
Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday and celebrates the last days of Jesus Christ’s life. Jesus was warmly welcomed as he rode into Jerusalem during the Passover celebrations. Admired for his miracles and teachings, many saw him as the leader who would deliver them from Roman rule. Palm branches, as the traditional symbol of victory, were spread throughout the streets before him.
Over the centuries, the palm branch has become the traditional symbol of joy and victory - a sign of victory over the flesh and the world. It is also associated with the memory of Christian martyrs.
Palm Sunday is celebrated across the Christian church world wide. Almost universally, small crosses made from palm leaves have been offered to congregations since the Middle Ages. The palms are blessed and then used to make the ashes for Ash Wednesday for the next year.
Symbols and meanings
Churches may also have a procession to portray the Passion of Christ, involving people singing songs and waving palm leaves – a tradition that goes back to the 4th century! In Spanish Seville, Domingo de Ramos processions play a large part of the Holy Week commemorations. While in Italy on La Domenica delle Palme, piazzas in front of many churches are filled with people where they can buy olive and palm branches. In Rome, priests and deacons wear red garments and blessed palms are distributed during the church service.
Did you know that branches of willow, olive, box elder, spruce or other trees are used in places where palms are not available? Often they are later hung up in houses for good luck, buried to preserve crops, or used to decorate graves. The willow is sometimes later placed in the fields to ensure that there will be good harvests.
Some churches give people pax cakes at the end of a service, to symbolize peace and goodwill.
Different names, same celebration
Palm Sunday was traditionally called Olive or Branch Sunday as well as Sallow, Willow, Yew or Blossom Sunday. Elsewhere, it was also called Sunday of the Willow Boughs. These names represent the local replacements for the traditional palm branches. Other names for this day include Passion Sunday, Fig Sunday, Willow Sunday, Branch Sunday, or Blossom Sunday!
At Camphill Community Glencraig
So, with all this in our minds, we began our Easter week with our traditional Boundary walk, starting from Comgall at 4pm. We had a great turn out for our own procession, with smiling walkers and good weather. Many of our walkers carried symbolic palm crosses throughout and we sang joyfully.
There’s definitely the feeling now that Spring is here!
*Thanks to https://www.timeanddate.com/ for this information!