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Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Palms

Tomorrow is Easter. Last week was Palm Sunday. I used to love Palm Sunday as a kid. We were given palm fronds at church. Anytime I was given ANYTHING I thought it was special.

At home, we placed the palms over and around crucifixes, paintings of Mary, and any other place that was appropriate. When we were very young we even had a little holy water font on the wall - a small dish to hold holy water, with the likeness of a saint or an angel behind it. We were supposed to dip our fingers into the holy water and bless ourselves each time we entered or left the house.

There was a large container of holy water in the vestibule of the church. Occasionally, we brought a small bottle to fill and take home, to keep our little font filled. Our home font eventually disappeared. I have not seen one in a home for many, many years.

The palms I received in Baptist or Methodist churches were different from the palms I used to receive at our Catholic church. Ours were long and slender. Theirs were a single branch with many short leaves branching off the center stem. I liked ours better - what you're used to, I guess. Since I have been singing in the choir at the Community Church, I get the same kind of palms I used to get as a kid. I like them. They remind me of the "old days".

At one time I became intrigued by palms folded and woven into crosses, roses and other shapes. I determined to learn to make them. On Palm Sunday, I take home extra palms and fold them into numerous palm crosses, which I then take back to church on Good Friday and leave them on the table for everyone to take home. Lately, the children have been making palm crosses in Sunday School, but I still continue to make mine.

Sometimes I give them to friends and neighbors and once, I sent them to my brothers and sisters, hoping they would be mailed before they dried out completely and were crushed to bits in the envelopes. The crosses twist and curl as they dry - you could dry them in a phone book or under a heavy weight to keep them flat, but I don't bother.

I made palm crosses this year. I was going out with friends and brought a couple of crosses for them. To my surprise, they gave me two crosses they had brought home from church. Theirs were folded the same way mine were, only the palms had been cut short before folding. Thus the crosses were uniform in size, and appropriately scaled to be worn as pins (a straight pin was stuck into each, for attaching to one's lapel).

This year's palm crosses were placed on the table in the vestibule. I hope they will be taken home. Last year they were left and later someone had laid them on tables and desks all over the church, apparently unwilling to throw them away.

If you would like to fold palm crosses and don't know how, here is a link that can show you. Leave your palms long as I do, or cut them short, about 6 - 8 inches long should do it. Split the palms to about 1/2 inch widths, or try folding a cross from an un-split leaf and enjoy the bulky cross that results. You can fold the long points into the middle, or leave them hanging long, or wind them around the cross piece and thread them through the final wrap. I make them all ways. They are all pretty and fun.

Happy Easter!

Quotable Quotes; in the category But I Spent All My Money On Jelly Beans And Marshmallow Chicks!

"Those have a short Lent, who owe money to be paid at Easter."
Benjamin Franklin

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