01 April 2007

Italian Palm Sunday

Domenica delle Palme…con le olive

Today is Palm Sunday which is the celebration of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem before Passover (Mark 11: 1-11), leading up to His crucifixion and resurrection which is celebrated next weekend. Here in Ascoli Piceno there was a slight twist to the service from what we were used to America, instead of palm branches all of the churches had olive branches.

In the Bible some translations just say that the people spread “leafy branches” on the road as Jesus rode into Jerusalem and I always pictured this as palm branches as that is what you saw on Palm Sunday in America, hence the name. However with a Mediterranean climate in Judea it could just as easily have been olive branches that were used as olive trees are mentioned in other sections of scripture.

Charitable groups were offering olive branches at the entry to the churches, some the natural green and other with a coating of gold paint; I opted for the natural green. The piazze where full of people with their olive branches after each service enjoying the sunshine while talking to their family and friends.

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