Last Sunday, April 13th, was Palm Sunday and Catholic Croatians call it Flower Sunday.
On Palm Sunday Christians celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, the week before his death and resurrection. For many Christian churches, Palm Sunday, often referred to as “Passion Sunday,” marks the beginning of Holy Week, which concludes on Easter Sunday. In Croatia Palm Sunday is called “Flower Sunday” (Cvjetna Nedjelja or Cvijećnica).
It is a day for the blessing of flowers, olive, palm and other branches during all Masses in the church and signifies the announcement of the Gospel that talks about Jesus’ festive entry into Jerusalem. It’s a Croatian tradition to take the small branches, or a piece of a larger one, home and place it on the crucifix that usually hangs on the wall, or tuck it into the frame of a picture of a Saint in the home, while other pieces are taken to the stables and into the fields.
But beside these religious traditions connected with the Catholic Church Croatians have an ancient tradition of washing their face and hands and arms (especially the children) on Palm Sunday morning in water with fresh flowers in it. The tradition also includes wishing well, success and all good intentions for the coming year to one’s own life, family’s, friends’, neighbours and all those that are close. Hence, the name: Flower or Floral Sunday.
The Bible reveals that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the crowds greeted him by waving palm branches and covering his path with palm branches. Immediately following this great time of celebration in the ministry of Jesus, he begins his journey of the Cross.
The biblical account of Palm Sunday can be found in Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; and John 12:12-19
Here are some photographs from this year’s Palm Sunday in Croatia and community abroad. Click on photos to enlarge.