ON PALM SUNDAY
Since ancient times, the Church has brought palm branches into the Liturgy as a blessing on the feast of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem - the day commonly known as Palm Sunday.
In Mediterranean areas such as the Holy Land, North Africa, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, various types of palm branches were available, just as those which were strewn in the path of the Lord as He entered the Holy City.
In areas that were later Christened, such as Ukraine and Russia, palms were not available, and as such, the custom was adopted to use pussywillow boughs, which just begin to bloom around Pascha. In more remote, northern areas, fir branches were sometimes used.
Today, most areas have access to postal-ready palm orders, to recall the roots of this holy feast. Yet it is suitable to also use local branches in celebrating in our time the Lord's Triumphal Entry.