Palm Sunday

After Augusta Victoria in the morning, we made our way back to the Old City to watch the Palm Sunday festivities in Jerusalem. This year, Easter is an even more unique celebration that usual, because the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic (and Protestant) celebrations fall on the same day. On Palm Sunday, there is a procession from a church just outside the old city, thru the Mount of Olives, and down into the old city, thru the Lions Gate. Thousands of Christian pilgrims waving palm fronds and olive branches while they follow the route Jesus used to enter Jerusalem, according to Christian Gospel.

It was quite a spectacle of religious tourism. Harb and I went to look at the church where the procession started, and almost didn’t make it out. As I was waiting to enter the crowded church, I was un-subtly elbowed to the side. I turned to see who was in such a hurry, and was chagrined to find a group of 5-foot tall Indian grandmothers on a mission.  Note to self: Don’t get caught between a pious pilgrim and her sacred duty.

The procession was full of visiting clergy members in cassocks, habits, and robes. I saw church groups and the flags of several different countries, and heard hymns in a variety of languages. Entrepreneurial Arab children worked the streets prior to the event, selling palm fronds, olive branches, and water at a suitably outrageous markup. My personal favorite was the whelp that stepped in front of Josh with a small olive twig and said “Give me money.”


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