Sunday, April 13, 2014

Would Palm Sunday by Any Other Name Smell as Sweet?

This Sunday many churches celebrate "Palm Sunday" which is a bit of a misnomer for in today's assigned reading, palm branches were not the greatest honor bestowed on the "King" of "daughter Zion."
"A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road." Matthew 21:8 
Spreading one's cloak on the road was probably a great sacrifice, because cloaks were probably quite valuable and the roads back then were pretty nasty what with all those colts and donkeys coming and going.

So why don't we call it "Cloak Sunday"? Probably because it would not smell as sweet.

People have tried to lobby for such a change, but it never caught on. I guess folks are not too willing to toss their Sunday best into the church aisle for the priests, acolytes, and choirs to walk all over in a recreation of the event.

If you ever get tired of calling it "Palm Sunday" and are not ready to make the sacrifice of  "Cloak Sunday",  here are a few of the various names used historically and around the world for today's commemoration (derived from the Catholic Encyclopedia).

  • Kyriake
  • Heorte ton baion
  • Heorte baiophoros
  • Lazarus Sunday
  • Dominica in Palmis
  • Dominica Palmarum
  • Dies Palmarum
  • Dominica Hosanna
  • Pascha floridum
  • Pâques fleuries
  • Pascua florida
  • Dominica florida
  • Dies floridus
  • Flower Sunday
  • Olive Sunday
  • Branch Sunday
  • Sallow Sunday
  • Willow Sunday
  • Yew Sunday
  • Blossom Sunday
  • Sunday of the Willow Boughs
  • Blumensonntag
  • Blumentag
  • Secundus floricultus (Armenian seventh Sunday after Easter)
  • Secunda palmarum dominica (Armenian seventh Sunday after Easter)
If you have as busy a Sunday as I have planned, you might agree to call it "Whew Sunday".

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