Reflecting on a Palm Sunday tradition
The official name the Church gives to Palm Sunday is “Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion.” It’s for obvious reasons: We distribute palms in commemoration of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and we hear the Passion story read in the Gospel.
Growing up, it marked the beginning of several days of church-going … to services that seemed to last a very long time. I liked the procession with the palms, especially when, in California, they were huge fronds that had been trimmed from the palm trees around the church property: Green, alive and heavy!
But, what was most important to me was what happened on the afternoon of Palm Sunday. Our family would gather around the kitchen table and we began to make small crosses from the palm fronds. My mom was really good at making just the right size cuts for the second piece of palm to weave into the longer piece.
After making several crosses, they were placed carefully into the big, thick dictionary until they’d dried out for a couple of days. Then, each palm cross was placed in the Easter card given to grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters and parents on Easter morning.
I’m not certain how the tradition began. Was it an Italian custom? Or a Damiano tradition? No matter … it continues today.
Not an Easter goes by that I don’t send and receive a palm cross from a family member. My mom told me it was a sign of wishing Easter blessings on that person and their household.
I like it. It brings me comfort, solace, good memories.
By the way, as years went by, mom allowed me to graduate to making palm hearts! They’re a bit funky looking, but that didn’t matter then, nor does it now.
Blessings, peace and love to each of you this Holy Week. And, perhaps you’ll want to take up this tradition?