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Palm Sunday

by Robert-James Collingridge on November 1st

Some parts of Wales celebrate Palm Sunday in a similar way to that celebrated by most  of the Christian world at All Saints Day on 1st November.Palm Sunday is a "movable" celebration as it is the weekend before Easter and commemorates Christ's entry into Jerusalem. In Welsh it is called " Sul y Blodau" which translates literally as Sunday of the flowers and was and still is taken as the opportunity to decorate graves and memorials with flowers principally to remember one's ancestors. Previously it had more religious connotations in that the spring flowers were arranged with foliage bursting into leaf to celebrate the passing of winter and the start of the Christian festival to celebrate the Resurrection.
Nowadays the spring flowers are mainly daffodils, tulips, freesia and iris whereas previously it was more of the wild varieties such as wild daffodils, croci,(or crocuses) primroses, flowering evergreen shrubs especially varieties of Daphne some of which are stunningly scented (Daphne Odorata for instance) and early green foliages like Pussy Willow (catkins) and other hedgerow plants.
It can also be taken as a sign that spring cleaning should start!!  The Welsh used to clean up the graves, sweep up the dead leaves, pull up the weeds, and in the cases of  some traditional type of stone or granite graves perhaps whitewash them if appropriate, or if in slate to clean the lichen from them.
Other churches celebrate Palm Sunday by using large fronds of the Phoenix palm as decoration to symbolise the entry of Christ into Jerusalem where the followers of Jesus lay the palms on the road for his donkey and its rider to cross. The Phoenix palm is seen everywhere around the Mediterranean and will have fronds up to 2m (6ft) long. It's leaves are very hard and prickly and while care should be taken with them I do not think it has yet been stigmatised by Health and Safety.

Tags: palm sunday, wales, Sul u Blodau

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