How do you feel about this practice?
This is an interesting question, and in some ways an open ended one.
I currently am stationed in Spokane WA where this is not something I see many people do, of course I do not go into their homes to look,
However, I grew up in Southern California where it is quite common for people to do this, for instance in Hispanic or Filipino homes to name only two ethnic groups.
I am a convert and I actually enjoyed taking my blessed palm home and make it into a cross, a simple one.
I asked our parish priest in CA what he thought of it, He didn’t mind his parishoneers doing this, however if they were to purchase them from street vendors he did ask that they bring them in and have them blessed
As far as he could tell from asking his Bishop there were no “rules” against this practice.
Anyway a short answer to your question would be… I like simple ones, and it depends on what reminds you most of Jesus???
Blessings and a Blessed Palm Sunday
There is an article about this in the **Michigan Catholic **which is the Detroit Archdiocese’s Catholic Newspaper it publishes:
Centuries of tradition
Palm weaving is a long-lasting European tradition found in many countries, but especially in Sicily, where the Palm Sunday liturgy is called “La Domenica Delle Palme,” and the palm weavers are called “parmaru” in Sicilian.
“The custom of blessing the branches has its origin to the triumph and entry of Christ,” Fedeli said, adding that the Sicilian tradition started with the many men who cut and wove palms for the Mass, due to the abundance of palms found in southern Italy.
Fedeli’s first experience with palm weaving began as a child, and his family attended an Italian Catholic church in Illinois. He remembers going downstairs to the church basement on Palm Sunday, where Sicilian men would weave elaborate crosses out of the palm branches.
In the New Orleans area, where I grew up, we used those slightly pointy ones from those squat little palm trees, where you have a long branch and a ton of really skinny leaves coming off of it. The leaves look like this. pics.davesgarden.com/pics/2011/07/21/palmbob/12c486.jpg
Whereas, in the Dallas area and in College Station, they use the broad, flat leaves that look closer to this. junglemusic.net/articles/Palm%20Gardens/Fan%20Palm%20Leaf%20example%20%28Large%29.JPG
I never actually had the opportunity to even try that until we moved to Texas. Honestly though, I fold mine into a little cross. I did this year, and it’s actually sitting behind my laptop right now.
I think it’s fine, and a nice little way to show remembrance of Jesus’ Passion. I would, however, like to add that if it becomes a distraction during mass, takes up a huge amount of time, or otherwise keeps you from paying attention, it’s better to just leave it as is while mass is going on.
I have no problems with anyone making crosses out of blessed palm branches.
Thank you for this explanation!
Today, we had not only crosses but all kinds of designs and patterns. One had sort of like an egg, and they can put pictures and other things in them.
I don’t have a problem with it.
The Episcopalians have been doing this for decades. People would often take them home and hang them over their doors.
At my church you are expected to turn the branch / leaves back in next year to be burned for Ash Wednesday, so I don’t know how I would feel about burning a cross… of course it could be unwoven… hmm.
We make crosses, crowns of thorns, whips and many other designs with ours. I’ve done it since I was a child, and so did my husband. It was one if the few Holy Week traditions we shared at first because culturally there are a lot of differences. Almost everyone I know does this, and during severe storms we break of part of the blessed palm to burn (over the sink). Been through many tornadoes over the years and so no far severe damage. I learned that from my grandmother and was reminded by a priest at the end of Mass when we were under a tornado warning. He, too, burned a blessed palm and asked for protection.
There’s one hanging in our Cathedral that’s weaved out of many palms. I’ll bet it almost 4 ft tall. It looks awesome.
The palms are made into the ash for the following year’s Ash Wednesday.
We are asked not to weave the palms until mass is over. After mass, it is up to people whether to take the palm home. I wove a cross for my mother and put it in her room because if I left it unwoven, it would not be understood by staff or my brothers. She enjoyed watching me do it, we talked about Palm Sunday and she asked me about Lent (she forgets). She cannot get to mass and even if she could, she would not be aware, so little things like the palm, help to keep her feeling part of the Church community.
After announcements at the end of Mass, Fr. got up and already had his folded into a cross. He then reminded everyone that their palms had been blessed and should be treated as such in their homes. He reminded parents to take it away from young children and not to just throw it away but to put it in a safe spot a doorknob, above the door or with their crucifix in their homes until next year when they are to bring them back for Ash Wednesday. I thought it was very nice for him to remind everyone how to properly treat it as a blessed object.
In the book, “The Sound of Music”, Maria Trapp describes what her family did at Easter. Back in those days, people didn’t use real palms in Austria because you couldn’t really get any - they didn’t grow there, and remember that transportation wasn’t as good as it is now, so it was very difficult and expensive to get real palm branches. She said that they would make wreaths and decorations out of branches from trees that grew locally, and bring these to the church instead of palms. The priest would bless them, and then people would put them up in areas around their homes and gardens, as a reminder of the presence of God.
That’s beautiful! Thanks for sharing.
Today I went into Waterstones book shop and had the nicest surprise of my life. What did I see in front of the till on the ground floor? A palm leaf beautifully and neatly folded into a cross nearly 12 inches in height. There were no religious items near it and the small religious book section is tucked away upstairs.
It really made my day as my knees, feet and back were aching (I had no seat during the Mass of Oils) and I was carrying heavy shopping.
Just had to share this small item of joy.
I grew up in the Midwest of the United States. My mother always weaved her palms beautifully in a four frond weave and taught me how to do it. I recently met a young lady from the Midwest and that is how she was taught to weave them as well. Most people around here make cross designs.
I do not see anything wrong with the age old custom of weaving them or making other beautiful designs with them while they are still green and pliable so that they will remain beautiful for the rest of the year. Otherwise they would quickly dry out and look ugly.
In Russia ***** willows are substituted for palms.
Why the astericks? The word I used is not vulgar in the context I was using it. Try cat willows.
I believe Pope Francis’ palm branch was all woven and I believe I have seen the same with other Popes. Our church has simple cross folded palms to be blessed. I think the more ornate ones are beautiful. I imagine someone visiting a home would maybe ask about the woven palm and may open up a dialogue to encourage someone.