The Sunday Mail
CHRISTIANS today celebrate Palm Sunday, one of the most enduring legacies of the Christian religion, which marks the remembrance of Jesus Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
Palm Sunday is characterised by long processions in which believers wave palm branches singing victory songs as they mark the beginning of the holy week which culminates into the Easter Holiday. Roman Catholic Priest, Father Emmanuel Riberio said historically palms were used because they were significant and that they were the most common trees within the Mediterranean Sea.
“Whenever we embark on Palm Sunday, congregants are educated and reminded of the meaning of that period and what is expected of each one of us. When one then takes the palms home it means that they understand the history which is why during the entire period of lent we focus much on rebuilding spiritual bonds with God.
“During the forty days while we await the Palm Sunday, congregants take their time to confess their sins to the priests,” he said.
Deriving from the biblical last supper when Jesus told his disciples to constantly partake the Holy Communion in his memory, Fr Ribeiro said the phrase ‘do this in memory of me’ is key during the forty days.
“Palm Sunday means we should bank our lives on Christ but with these new churches, congregants flock for miracles. This therefore means that while we remain rooted to the traditional way of doing our rites, it is the believers that need enlightenment to go back to the old ways,” he explained.
Another priest, Father Clifford Nhetekwa said palms are a symbol of protection for the household and a constant reminder that one should live a Christ-like life.
The palms have to be blessed by a priest before the procession rites begin.
“In African Tradition there is what is called ‘Kupinga Musha’ believing that it is protection against evil spirits in the household, likewise the palms safeguard the household.
“Whenever one does bad, that palm becomes a constant prick to remind them that they have done something wrong. It does not necessarily stop one from sinning but rather it pricks one to confess and go back into line.
“That is why it is crucial to have a palm branch in your household and to renew it yearly as a symbol of renewing vows with God,” said Fr Nhetekwa.