TraditionsSunday 09 April 2017

The Flower's Sunday or the Palm Sunday in the orthodox tradition

The feast of the Meeting of the Lord

The Flower's Sunday or the Palm Sunday in the orthodox tradition

It should be noted that, in the Romanian tradition, spring holidays (and the beginning of the summer) are much more numerous and spectacular. This is because, in our view, for a long time, the celebration of the New Year by agrarian peoples of Eastern Europe takes place in this season.

The same think happens with the Palm Sunday which, according to the ethnologists, is nothing more than the personification of the flowers celebrated on Sunday with the same name, the Flowers Sunday, that stands for the Palm Sunday, over which the Christian Church overlapped the feast of Jesus’ triumphal entry in Jerusalem (Ion Ghinoiu, Mică Enciclopedie de tradiții românești, Bucharest, Agora Publishing, 2008).

To the rebirth of nature, when plants, willow and fruit trees are flowering, were added new meanings, especially those linked to the cult of ancestors and forefathers (Ion Ghinoiu, Mică Enciclopedie de tradiții românești, Bucharest, Agora Publishing, 2008). It is a characteristic of the watershed moments, which act as intermediaries between the old and the new times, ours, the veneration of the spirits of those who have embarked on the journey "in the other world."

Generally, it is considered that the willow branches symbolize the palm branches with which Jesus was greeted at the entrance to Jerusalem, by the excited and happy crowd. In the Romanian traditional area the symbolic meanings are far more numerous. So, one of the roles of te sanctified willow branches on Palm Sunday is one apotropaic. By decorating with them the crosses, tombs, shrines, the windows, the doors and gates of the houses, they provide magical protection and drive away evil spirits (Ion Ghinoiu, Mică Enciclopedie de tradiții românești, Bucharest, Publisher Agora, 2008).

Another role, no less important, of these willow branches is to be fertilizers. They are given to the cattle to breed, are planted on the fields or hung in fruit trees and vine vineyard to give them rich fruit It’s also important its magical function. According to popular belief, willow branches with which people come to church prevent back-pain during harvest, if women and men are bound with them; it stop and hail storms during the summer, help to perform spells and incantations.

On Palm Sunday, women in some villages of Oltenia used to make of the willow branches, on Circovii Marinei (July 16 to 18), a circle that had to be crossed to get healing. Willow coronets were sacred objects through which girls were kissed on their wedding day, and were worn on the head for Paparude.

Gheorghe Sechesan




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