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Festivals of Western Europe

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Author Topic: Festivals of Western Europe  (Read 3227 times)
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« Reply #60 on: April 29, 2009, 03:23:36 pm »

PALMSONNTAG (Palm Sunday) The Sunday before Easter

    In most parts of Germany Easter festivities start on Palm Sunday. Customs vary widely from place to place, but everywhere they symbolize resurgence of life and joy in the budding spring.

    In the Black Forest, for example, people decorate tall poles with ****-willows, heart or cross motifs, and long multicolored ribbon streamers. These gay Eastertide emblems are set up before village houses and later carried in procession to church, where they are consecrated by the priest.

    In Bavaria on the other hand, the poles are transformed into glittering trees, with branches cut from twelve different kinds of wood. The branches are bent and fastened to the poles in semicircular shape, then gaudily decorated with colored glass beads. Villagers carry the trees in joyous procession to the church. After the blessing the peasants set up the trees in the farm fields to ensure fertility to crops, protection from hail and drought, and preservation from all other disasters.

    Most unusual of all Palm Sunday customs, perhaps, is the Palm Esel, or wooden Palm Donkey, symbolic of the animal upon which Jesus entered Jerusalem two thousand years ago. The Palm Donkey, survival of a rare folk custom, is reverently carried to the village church. Devout parishioners believe that by touching the wooden image they, too, may share the same mystic blessing which people doubtless thought emanated from the humble ass when it carried the King of Israel.

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