In Russia, it is traditionally accepted to call the last Sunday before Orthodox Easter a palm tree. Other names for the holiday are Palm Sunday, Vayi Week or the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem.
Where does the name come from
Palm Sunday is celebrated exactly one week before Easter. On this day, Jesus Christ solemnly rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. The townspeople greeted him with palm branches, which should have meant a special honor to the newcomer. That is why the holiday was originally called Palm Sunday (in Latin - Die dominica in palmas).
In Christian lands where palm trees grow, the palm branch is the symbol of this day.
However, in most of the Slavic lands, palm trees do not grow. They were replaced by branches of blossoming willow, which bloom first in spring. It was she who became a new symbol of the holiday for Russians, giving a characteristic name to this day.
Holiday in Christianity
The symbolism of this holiday is, first of all, in the recognition of Jesus Christ as the messiah, and in addition, the Lord's entry into Jerusalem is in its own way a prototype of the entry of the son of man into the gates of Paradise.
In Christian churches, an all-night vigil is held on this day. Believers come to the temple with flowers and branches and light candles, thus, as if welcoming the coming of Christ. At matins, the priest reads a special prayer for the blessing of the willow, after which he sprinkles the branches with holy water.
Many Orthodox Christians keep such consecrated branches in their homes for the next year. In some regions there is also a custom to put such branches in the hands of the dead. This should symbolize the greeting of the deceased to Jesus, through faith in whom death will be defeated.
The people on the territory of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus have developed many customs and traditions associated with Palm Sunday. The most varied magical properties were attributed to the consecrated branches - they can serve to save one from damage and the evil eye, diseases, evil spirits, misfortunes.
So, in the Kostroma region, on the day of Palm Sunday, bagels are specially baked and consecrated in the church, and then fed to pets. A year later, the preserved willow branches are dipped in holy water and sprinkled on the cattle. In other localities, cattle are driven to pasture, driven by willow branches.
By the way, here and there a blow with such a pussy willow is considered healing and magical. She is specially whipped by cattle, children, sometimes husbands of their wives.
The buds of the consecrated willow are also eaten, added to bread and livestock feed. It is believed that they can cure a sick person or give a long-awaited addition to an infertile woman.
In the prerevolutionary history of Russia on Palm Sunday, "palm trades", horseback riding and festivities were held.