Monday, June 15, 2009
Interview by Jennifer Kumar, Cross-Cultural Coach
In this interview, Binu John shares his thoughts and experiences about Palm Sunday, the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a goat, heralded in by the local villagers with the fanning of palm leaves, days before Easter.
The interview also provides links to games, crafts and songs for children, videos about Palm Sunday and links to bible scriptures that can be read on this holy day.
Though I grew up in a Christian community, I never celebrated Palm Sunday. Is this holiday specific to a certain branch of Christianity?
No. As far as I know, Palm Sunday is celebrated by all branches. I have celebrated the same with Roman Catholics, American Orthodox and Lutherans.
Are there special scriptures, stories or hymns of this day?
Yes. There are special services, scriptures etc. for the day.
Here are a few scriptures set aside for Palm Sunday: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 | Luke 19:28-40 | Philippians 2:5-11
Palm Sunday Stories, Games and Songs for Toddlers, Children and Small Kids
Crafts – Make your own palm leaf
See the embedded videos below for more intriguing information.
Photo right: Fred Dawson at Flickr (used under creative commons)
You have celebrated this holiday in India and America. Have you noticed any differences in the two expressions, culturally or ritualistically?
Not much. Surprisingly, the sermons are similar based on the branch. Orthodox churches in America have pretty much the same sermons as the orthodox churches in India and the same applies for the Catholic Church as well.
I have gone to both American and Indian churches in America for the Palm Sunday services. All churches give out palm leaves.
What is the palm leaf signify?
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, people welcomed him by spreading palm leaves on the ground.
Are there special foods or drinks served on this day? Does this differ based on celebrating in an American church or an Indian church? Are any special costumes or dresses worn on this day?
Is going to church mandatory on Palm Sunday? Is the service different, longer, or unique on this day as compared to others? Do you have to go to church at a special time?
The service is longer, but starting time is the same. It is essentially an additional segment inserted into the regular mass.
Anything else to add?
Yes. This is something unique for India. The palm leaves given out on Palm Sunday are inserted into the bread baked for Holy Thursday.
The palm leaves are kept in a safe place and taken to the church and burnt on Christmas eve.
Thank you for sharing your time, knowledge and experience on Alaivani.com, Binu!
Curious Mac and Candy Man Nick ask everyday Joe’s ask people in a candid, informal way if they believed in the Easter Bunny and if they know the meaning of Palm Sunday. A nicely made video by tccedar at YouTube.
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More information on this post, "Teach Us About Your Culture".
See an archived list of cross-cultural interviews here.
According to Easter Pages there is something extra special about Eater dates for 2010 "The 2010 Easter Date applies not only to the western calendar (Catholic and Protestant Churches), but also to the The Eastern Orthodox church. This is an unusual event since the two branches of Christianity have different methods for calculating the correct date for Easter. There are only a few years each century when the Easter dates match like this so Easter 2010 is likely to be seen as extra special."
Ehow has answered why Easter falls on different dates every year. Easter Sunday is identified as the first Sunday after the first full moon after Vernal Equinox (March 21). Read how to calculate the Easter dates on Ehow.
Updated April 2011.
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