Italian Palm Sunday

In the Christian tradition, the Sunday before Easter Sunday is Palm Sunday.  On this day, each member of the congregation is handed a little piece of a palm leaf or branch, which is later blessed.  This palm branch is used to commemorate Christ’s return to Jerusalem, and how, according to the Bible, palms were laid out for his in celebration.

            After our experience with Palm Sunday in Italy, my friend and I affectionately renamed it Olive Branch Sunday.  We did not receive palms on Palm Sunday, as the name and tradition would lead you to believe, but rather we were handed a branch from an olive tree, which in no way, shape, or form resembled a palm leaf.  Rather than being disappointed, however, we were amused.  How dare they hand out anything other than palms on Palm Sunday?  How could they not hand out palms, being that we are in Italy, where palms are in abundance?  Why olive branches?  I’m not sure it really matters, but the difference was interesting.  Just another note to chalk up between “us” and “them.”

Kathryn Herbert


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