"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.


Maria Stahl said...

I always get stopped short by the part of the story where it's stated Jesus rode on a "young colt" that nobody had ever ridden before. Thinking of all the young colts I have known personally, this was a miracle in and of itself. The colt was big enough for a grown man to ride him, so he was a big guy, at least a 2 year old, yet never ridden before but he was calm and allowed himself to be a float in a victory parade! Wow. :)

Sara said...

What a lovely post, and worth the pause to reflect on when we were wiser.

Diane said...

Cathy, this was wonderful to read. I am so thankful I was raised in a Christian home where we were taught the truth about God and about His Son, the birth, death and ressurection. I didn't grow up with Advent, Lent, Ash Wednesday, etc. but have made a deliberate effort to learn about those traditions as well. Last Christmas, for the first time in my life, I practiced Advent even though I was alone. It brough a whole new appreciation of the entire season to me. Thank you for sharing this lovely post as we approach this sacred time in our worship of a risen Savior.

Jada's Gigi said...

Remembrance is so important and yes, you are right...we must teach our own because there will be little community support.

Felisol said...

Dear Mrs. Mac,
Thanks for sharing thoughts and memories.
Remembering makes me realize just how much a good uprising means. It's what you carry with you the rest of your life.
Today is Maundy Thursday, a holiday in Norway. No shops open, except for the gas stations.
It's the one day of the year I really need to receive Communion.
Tradition from my youth? Maybe, but I need it anyhow. It's given us for strength and togetherness, for contact with Christ.
I do not for a minute reflect over whether I am worthy or not. I am invited by Christ.
I will go.

Felisol said...

We went, both of us. It was even better than I hoped.

Margie said...

Things were a lot simpler back then, that's for sure!

I noticed that Family Dollar was open on Easter... what the heck? really? Nuts!

Trish said...

Around here we still focus on the reason we Celebrate...Jesus. The Grandbabies loved getting Palm Fronds this past Sunday. Thankfully, our Church still does this. Lovely Post...

Anonymous said...

Dearest Daughter, It warmed my heart to read your post. Doing those things during your growing up years just came natural. It was what we did back then and I'm so happy that those memories are still with you. The older I get, the more precious and stronger my faith becomes and my involvement in our beautiful church services this time of year really set the stage for this most beautiful of holy days. Wishing we could be together for the ham dinner, but will be seeing you soon.
Love always

Evylia Hardy said...

My mom wasn't a christian when I was a child. I gave my heart to Jesus Christ because my teacher in the Elementary School told me about Him and His unconditional love.

Love to read the memories you have when you were a child. Thank you for sharing.