Monday, March 29, 2010

87/365: Palm Sunday

87/365: Palm Sunday
87/365: Palm Sunday, originally uploaded by Magic Madzik.
March 28th

Palm Sunday is the last Sunday before Easter. It commemorates the day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem, and people greeted him by waving palm fronds and crying out 'Hosanna!'.

Traditional Kurpian Palms

In Poland, we do not have palm trees. We do, however, have extremely rich folk traditions which date back to pre-Christian times, and which have largely survived in the Catholic custom. Such a tradition is weaving palms for Palm Sunday, and it is most alive in the colourful Northeastern region of Kurpie.

Only there will you find such elaborate palms made out of crepe paper and dried flowers, so tall that they cannot be carried upright. The village of Łyse, which I visited this year, is one of those that hold a contest for the tallest and most beautiful palm. People from all over the region work hard for the fourty days of Lent to make their entries.

Palm Sunday

The day begins with a mass and a procession (both of which I unfortunately missed as the bus left late) and is then occasion for a market where the locals sell their handmade wares- palms, painted eggs, lacework, pottery, carvings, as well as regional food such as honey, bread, meats and beer.

Kurpian woman

Palms and forest

Selling palms by the road

But be not mistaken. These palms are not only a testament to the rich folklore of Kurpie, but also a sign of religious devotion. Palm Sunday does not mark the beginning of a feast, nor is it a festival, but is the first day of the week in which the Christian God was killed by the very people who first greeted him with such joy. These amazing palms are first and foremost an offering to Jesus and a hope that we may be strong enough not to betray Him again and again as his first followers did, and we have no doubt done many times in our lives.

Kurpian Palms in the church belfry

You can see more photos from my trip to Kurpie in this Flickr set.

Biking to church

1 comment:

  1. Great photos and commentary about Palm Sunday, Madzia.

    Beata in Toronto


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