"These happy golden years are passing by, these happy golden years." Laura Ingalls Wilder

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Fond Memories of Palm Fronds

The Easter season brings back so many happy childhood memories. I was raised with many religious traditions.  Ash Wednesday .. Lent .. Palm Sunday .. Easter Sunday.  These traditions made a lasting impression and really do serve a purpose to remind and reflect tangibly on the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

The arrival of Easter meant a shiny new outfit.  For girls there were frilly chiffon dresses with ribbon ties, patten leather shoes, white gloves, straw hats and purses adorned with silk flowers.  What little girl wouldn't enjoy that?  The boys wore dress suits or button down dress shirts and a knit pullover vest.  The excitement of getting ready on Easter morning was almost too much to bear!

Religion took front and center stage over the secular Easter Bunny theme in our home, although he did pay us a visit .. which added to the thrill of such an important day.  Our baskets were assembled at home by our parents with real colored chicken eggs, speckled malt eggs, spiced gum drops and chocolate.  A little trinket gift could be found .. I remember getting a necklace/bracelet set.

Dinner was formal with a tablecloth and the best China dishes and stemware used.   Ham, potatoes, lime green Jello with canned pears, a green salad, green beans, rolls .. and a cake with coconut frosting.  We would eat at my grandparents home and visit with relatives.  The day was as pretty as a shiny new penny.  In all of the rush to prepare the meal, you had to be certain to have all of your supplies as the grocery stores were closed.  The day had national importance.

Today is Palm Sunday.  The day we remember Jesus arriving on a donkey in Jerusalem... also known as His Triumphal Entry.  Matthew 21:9-11 says, The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!, Hosanna in the highest!"  When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?"  The crowds answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."  

This is the Sunday we would get new palm fronds at mass and save them until the following year.  Ours were always stuck at the corner of a picture frame .. as a visual reminder.  The church would burn some of the leftover fronds and use to place a smudge on your forehead when attending church on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. 

I suppose this post is just a way to reflect on the importance of the Holy Season and how much that significance has (sadly) changed in today's more secular society.  It's even more important for Christian parents to teach their children while they are young because they certainly wont' find en mass community support.  Times have changed.