On the sixth Sunday of Great Lent (April 21, 2019), Eastern Christianity celebrates Palm Sunday. This is the last day before Holy Week - the period of the strict fasting.
History of the holiday
According to the legends, on this day, Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, where the locals greeted him like a messiah and covered the path of the Savior with the palm branches. The reason for this was the resurrection of deceased Lazarus, the news about this miracle quickly spread among the people. Palm Sunday symbolizes the beginning of the suffering of Jesus, as a result of which mankind received the hope of eternal life.
The Christian church began to celebrate the holiday from the middle of the IX century. Initially, the celebrations were rather modest, but over time, Palm Sunday became one of the 12 most important church holidays. In some countries, residents still go to the street with palm branches on this day. But in Ukraine, they were replaced by willow twigs. Hence the name of the holiday in Ukraine could be translated as Willow Sunday.
On Saturday the night service is held in the churches, and the believers come with a willow. In the temple, twigs are sprinkled with holy water. Having come home after the church service, people beat each other slightly with twigs and say: “I don’t beat, the willow beats. Be as healthy as water and as rich as land.” Thus, a person wants to wish health and well-being.
After the holiday, willow branches would be kept at home for a whole year, after which they would be burned to destroy negative energy.
Previously it was thought that willow would save the house from lightning and fire. And in the event of bad weather, if you throw twigs against the wind - the storm should have subsided faster. Also, beehives and sheds were bypassed with consecrated branches (so that bees and cattle were kept healthy). And when cooking cakes before Easter, the oven was kindled by last year’s dry willow.
Restrictions on Palm Sunday
As on any other great church holiday, on Palm Sunday it is recommended to abandon the repair, sweeping and washing floors. Needlework is also not allowed - sewing, embroidery, knitting. You cannot comb your hair on Palm Sunday - so you can incur trouble. It is also better to limit loud celebrations and feasts.
But the most important thing on Palm Sunday is not to quarrel, to avoid evil thoughts and actions.
Since the holiday falls at the time of Lent, the use of meat is prohibited. On this day, it is better to serve lean pastries and cereals. Consumption of fish dishes and some red wine are also allowed.
Signs and rites
Previously it was believed that when a consecrated willow germinates in the garden, the girl would get married, and the guy would marry. To increase wealth, it was necessary to plant a flower on this day. But if the flower fades – the family would suffer large financial losses.
If it is warm and dry weather on Palm Sunday, there will be a large fruit harvest in the summer. The wind is strong - wait for a cold summer.
If this day is frosty - the year will bring a lot of wheat. The number of sprouts also served as an indicator of future harvest.