17 April 2011

Palm Sunday

Weather: If the sun shines clear today, there will be a great store of fair weather and abundance of food.
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All glory, laud and honor,
To Thee, Redeemer, King,
To Whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.

Thou art the King of Israel,
Thou David’s royal Son,
Who in the Lord’s Name comest,
The King and Bless├Ęd One.

(You can listen to the tune here at CyberHymnal)

Today we commemorate the triumphant entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem, when the people acclaimed him, waving palm branches and strewing flowers in his path.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter or Zion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem: 
Behold, thy king will come to thee, the just and saviour. (Zechariah 9:9)

It is traditional for parishioners to receive consecrated palm fronds today, which are carried in procession into the church, and then taken home. 

Our ancestors entered in to the spirit of the day, by lining the streets as a wooden form of Jesus sitting on a donkey was drawn in procession.  Before this effigy, they threw down their palm branches, retrieving them after, as they believed the ridden-over fronds to be charms against storms and lighting.

In northern countries where palms are not numerous or common, branches of other trees - willow, boxwood, yew, and olive - were used.

Today begins Holy Week, which will end next Saturday. 
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An old Welsh tradition is to walk the boundaries of your property today.  Doing so will keep thieves away. [However, let us not place temptation in the path of our fellow man. Continue to use stout locks and other paraphernalia which discourages law-breaking].

This is also called Fig Sunday, from the practice of eating figs and fig puddings today. [A fig pudding, for those who wish to make one, is like a plum pudding with the addition of chopped dried figs.]
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John M. Neale, the translator of the above hymn into English, also noted another verse, which he says was sung until the 17th century.
Be Thou, O Lord, the Rider,
And we the little ass,
That to God’s holy city
Together we may pass.

Certainly appropriate to me, for I have a tendency to asinine behavior on occasion.