Palm Sunday in Perugia

posted in: Italy Travel | 3

Sunday April 17
Today is Palm Sunday and the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo was a short walk from my hotel, so I went to Mass there this morning. The cathedral was beautiful, and as in all Catholic churches on Palm Sunday, there was a lot of pomp and circumstance with a processional today.

I noticed two things that we different here in Italy with regards to Palm Sunday. Instead of distributing palms, they were distributing olive branches, and there was actually was a man trimming these on the church steps. I didn’t take one as I was not going to my home after Mass, but the woman sitting beside me gave me two of hers. Italians never stop being generous – it is just part of the culture.

The other thing I noticed was when the collection was taken, it appeared that the donations consisted only of change. I don’ know if that is the amount that people typically give, or whether previously arranged donations had been made. Interesting.

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3 Responses

  1. Lori Samarin

    Brava Margie,

    It’s such a joy to read your posts. I love your enthusiams and attention to detail. If I may, in Italy the use of olive branches versus palm fronts is has been a tradition in Italy principally because there are not as many palm trees to be found. Occasionally some finely woven palm fronds are carried by the priests. One other interesting tradition linked to the olive branches that have been previously “Blessed” on Palm Sunday, prior to being distributed, is that they are hung in the faithful’s homes upside down tied by a ribbon (usually in the kitchen or entryway). Whenever a particularly strong rain storm passes through, it is believed that burning a few of the dried olive leaves at the onset of the storm, will protect the household and chase away the bad weather. I remember my nonna doing so in Italy.

  2. The light in the pictures is gorgeous. Absolutely. I find the PALM Sunday use of olive branches very interesting.

  3. Christiane Frasca

    Maybe it’s similar to the German system of financing the churches; the church you belong to gets a percentage of your income tax!

I'm always interested in your thoughts, so please leave a comment.