Palm Sunday Celebrations In Georgia

Georgians across the country celebrated Palm Sunday yesterday, before entering one of the most important religious weeks today. One week later than other Christian faiths around the world, Georgia shares its celebrations with many other Orthodox countries such as Serbia.

This year’s celebrations were accompanied by a message from the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Georgia, which tried to create awareness for the endangered Colchian box-tree. The tree’s branches are usually cut by hordes of people to decorate their home and use them for celebration purposes. However, if continued, the remaining trees risk extinction.

The ritual comes from the welcoming of Jesus into Jerusalem, who is said to have entered on a donkey. Part of the welcoming included the use of palm branches, in Georgia substituted by the branches of the Colchian box-tree. Churches across Georgia bless the branches with holy water. Georgians then take the blessed branches home, burn the dried ones from the previous year (to rid the house of curses), and replace them with the fresh offerings.

The ritual is said to have taken a huge toll on the tree population, as uncontrolled cutting has occurred over the last years in unprecedented numbers.

Fasting is another big part of the Easter tradition, with Christians urged to refrain from eating certain foods and produce types. Easter symbolizes the end of the Lent period, which started this year on February 19.

By Benjamin Music

Photo: VOA

02 April 2018 03:31