Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pussy Willow Sunday

(I'm not being flip, read on to see.)
~

They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them,
and he sat upon them.
The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road,
while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road.
The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying:
“Hosanna to the Son of David;
blessed is the he who comes in the name of the Lord;
hosanna in the highest.”
And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked,
“Who is this?”
And the crowds replied,
“This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Matthew 21:5-11
~
Years and years ago, I was in Barcelona on Palm Sunday. Now, I was used to a single piece of palm which went promptly behind a calendar or picture hanging on the wall replacing the dried up one from last year. As we wandered through the parks of Barcelona on that holy day, we saw elaborate sculptures of palm fronds, some as much as six feet high. In a sense, they really emphasized the royal nature of the event, as some looked very much like a sceptre.
~
One year my first graders, in celebration on the Monday after Palm Sunday, made palms of green paper and paraded through the school, getting each class to join us in "Hosanna, Hosanna!" It brought to life for them the reality that the people of Jerusalem were celebrating Jesus just days before he was crucified.
~
In Siberia, my daughter-in-law tells me, they do not carry palms on Palm Sunday. Palms are not readily available there as you can imagine. They gather pussy willow branches to carry in procession. Pussy willow, with its catkins just budding out in time for the celebration--another sign of new life in anticipation of the Easter feast next week.
~
Palm Sunday--Pussy Willow Sunday

2 comments:

CrazyCath said...

This is a lovely post. I love pussy willow. It grew all around where I was brought up. We called it catkins.

I know what you mean about the size and majesty of palm branches. They are awesome when you see them, and imagine hundreds and hundreds being waved....

lila said...

I wrote a post about pussy-willow last year, and found out that before palms were so readily available, that pussy willow was used on Palm Sunday in Great Britian, for the reason you mentioned!