The Palm Cross is so called because it is made from the fronds of a palm leaf. Simple versions, like the Straw Cross shown on the right, are traditionally made by children just before Easter.
The Palm Cross may be confused with the cross held in the palm of the hand, and there is more than just an etymological connection between the palm leaves and the palm of the hand. See Hand-held Cross.
The first Palm Sunday
The townspeople gave Jesus the welcome reception reserved for the highest ranking visitors; laying their cloaks on the ground for the Messiah's donkey to tread. They also spread small branches of palm (symbols meaning 'victorious'2) to cushion the road and make the ride as comfortable as possible, waving branches and singing the Passover benediction3.
Palm Sunday today
One of the contemporary customs is for churches to re-enact this entry with a procession down the church aisle. At the end of the service, the Palm Crosses and fronds (or whatever substitute is used) are collected and burned. The residual ash is then retained for the Ash Wednsday service the following year.
See also Koru Cross.
|1:||The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem: Matt. 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44 and John 12:12-19|
|2:||Palm symbolism: Lev. 23:40 and Rev. 7:9|
|3:||The song of the crowds: Ps. 118:25-26|