Palm Sunday – known as Shaa’nineh in Arabic- is a Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The most solemn week of the Christian year, Holy Week is the week leading up to Easter, and is the week during which Christians particularly remember the last week of Jesus’s life.
The feast commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four canonical Gospels
Orthodox traditions are defined as pious customs – they are things that we do, not things that we believe. There are many examples of pious traditions in the week from Palm Sunday through Pascha ( PasKa), the feast of the Resurrection.
1-An Arabic tradition is to hold candles decorated with flowers for Palm Sunday along with palm or olives branches. They also hold Kids on their shoulders and they prepare special cookies for the day called “ka’ak el sha’nineh”.
2-Greeks hold crosses woven from either palm branches or bay leaves on Palm Sunday.
3-In India, flowers are strewn about into the sanctuary on Palm Sunday during the reading of the Gospel at the words uttered by the crowd welcoming Jesus, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who is come and is to come in the name of the Lord God.”
4-In Bulgaria, Palm Sunday is known as Tsvetnitsa (tsvete is flower) or Vrabnitsa (varba is willow). People with flower-related names, (for example Tsvetelina, Tsvetelin, Tsvetana, Tsvetan, Tsvetko, Margarita, Ralitsa, Lilia, Violeta, Yavor, Zdravko, Zjumbjul, Nevena, Temenuzhka, Rosa etc.) celebrate this day as their name day.
5-In Belgium, In Hoegaarden one of the last remaining Palm Sunday processions take place every year. A fellowship of Twelve Apostles carries a wooden statue of Christ around the town, while children go door to door offering the palms.
6-In Poland, many Polish towns and villages organize artificial palm competitions.
7-In Spain, (the location of the biggest palm grove in Europe), there is a tradition of tying and covering palm leaves to whiten them away from sunlight and then drying and braiding them in elaborate shapes.
8-In the Philippines, communities re-enact Jesus’ triumphal entry with a procession. A statue of Christ astride a donkey or the officiating priest on horseback processes around or towards the local church along with congregants bearing ornately woven palaspas (palm branches).
9-In the Saxon regions of the Netherlands, crosses are decorated with candy and bread, made in the form of a rooster.
10-Everywhere in the world, people and especially children wear new clothes for Palm Sunday.
Happy and safe Sha’nineh to all the Christians in the world, especially in the Middle East were Christians are facing a daily struggle to survive.