Sunday, April 04, 2004

Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday, also called the Second Sunday in Passiontide in the traditional Roman Rite, which commemorates Our Lord's triumphant entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey and being hailed by the people with shouts of triumph. Nevertheless, the Gospel of the day is taken from the 26th and 27th chapters of St. Matthew, relating Our Lord's Passion. The Catholic Encyclopedia's discussion of the day is here.

In places where palms cannot be found, branches of olive, box elder, spruce or other trees are used and the "Cæremoniale episcoporum", II, xxi, 2 suggests that in such cases at least little flowers or crosses made of palm be attached to the olive boughs. In Rome olive branches are distributed to the people, while the clergy carry palms frequently dried and twisted into various shapes. In parts of Bavaria large swamp willows, with their catkins, and ornamented with flowers and ribbons, were used.

In the Byzantine-Ruthenian Rite branches of pussy willows are distributed, sometimes in place of palms, sometimes in addition.