Palm Sunday is the Christian celebration which precedes the Easter. This is the day when Christ entered Jerusalem. It is also called Flowers Sunday and is the beginning Easter Holidays.
For the Romanians this day is as holy as Easter itself. So the people respect it and still keep traditions old for hundreds of years.
It is already spring so the flowers are bloomed and the nature is all green and lively. It is said that if the weather is fine on Palm Spring so it will be on Easter. On this day people go to church with flowers and willow twigs to be blessed by the priest. Then they make wreaths out of the twigs and place them in front of an icon or near a window in order to be protected for the rest of the year. The willow twigs represent nature and vegetation rebirth and the symbol of chastity. They are a substitute for goddess Flora. In the Roman Empire the Flowers celebration was dedicated to goddess Flora. They were also used to welcome Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. Those who carry flowers names are celebrated since Roman days even if it was Lent.
Some willow twigs are given as food to cattle to be protected. The orchards and vineyards are adorned with blessed twigs so they can provide good fruits. The beehives are also adorned so the bees can enjoy the divine blessing.
The tradition mentions that on Palm Sunday Eve the girls made a complex ritual dedicated to the goddess of vegetation, Lazar or Lazarica. This ritual was like caroling and was practiced only by women. So one of them was dressed in a bride (the one named Lazarica) and together with other women went to carol to every house in the village.
For Palm Sunday women bake pies and give them to poor people in order to honor the memory of the deceased relatives. It is also the day when, if it is sunny, the clothes and the girls’ dowry (pillows, quilts and carpets) are taken outside in the fresh spring air.
This day is also called “the sting nettle wedding” because this is the period when the sting nettles bloom and are perfect to be gathered and cooked.
It is forbidden to wash your hair on this day unless the water was blessed. At midnight the girls used to boil basil and then they washed their hair with the infusion resulted to keep it healthy and strong. The rest of the water must be poured at the roots of a pear tree. It is said that shortly after this ritual is completed the girl will meet the one destined to be her. The tradition is that the ritual must be performed before dawn or else the girls’ hair will turn white.
It is a tradition to eat fish on Palm Sunday and to keep some of it for Easter Day. It is said that if one eats on Easter fish kept from Palm Sunday one will be fast like a fish for the whole year.
May you have a wonderful spring and a beautiful Palm Sunday! May the nature fulfill all your wishes and protect you from all evil things! May you have a lot of inspiration and good mood!
Article by Andreea Andrei
Photo: Iulia Georgescu