How do the residents of a country which has no indigenous palm trees cope with Palm Sunday? Well, in the 21st Century, you simply order palms shipped by air freight. But what did Poles do in the centuries before this one?
For many centuries, Poles substituted pussy willow fronds for palm fronds, often embellishing the pussy willow with other colorful native plants and flowers. Although palms are now widely available in Poland, the custom of constructing substitute palms continues. Sometimes as a sort of contest sponsored by the local parish. The latest record for substitute palm height, reached in 2009, is a bit over 90 feet.
Hence, Palm Sunday has several names in Poland, Niedziela Palmowa meaning Palm Sunday and Niedziela Meki Panskiej meaning Sunday of the Lord's Passion, but also Niedziela Wierzbowa meaning Willow Sunday and Niedziela Rozdzkowa meaning Branch Sunday.
Photo: My friend Janina in my living room, 2009 Dennis Benarz, Chicagoland USA 2010