The week before Easter, Christians celebrate the great feast of the Entry of Christ into Jerusalem. The inhabitants of Jerusalem welcomed Christ palms, knocking them his way. So in those days it was decided to meet kings, and thus people have expressed their recognition of the divinity of Christ, our faith in him. The palm branch is a symbol of victory, and the people met Jesus as the King who has conquered death because he had recently raised from the dead of his friend Lazarus. The people cried out: "Hosanna! blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel!"
Russ palm trees do not grow, and with the adoption of Christianity palm branches replaced the plant, which is the first to bloom in our area - willow.
The choice of willow as a symbol of the holiday, the Bulletin of the Passover, not random. The willow is revered in Russia since ancient times and believed in its life-giving and magical properties that it protects against the evil eye. Therefore, the willow has long been used in rituals associated with different traditions and beliefs. The healing qualities of the willow is also known for a long time and are used to this day. It is no surprise that willow replaced the palm branches with the adoption of Christianity in Russia. Willow became a symbol of spring, rebirth, joy, divine resurrection, a symbol of the victory of Jesus over evil.
During the all-night vigil for the feast of the Entry of Christ into Jerusalem (Easter Sunday) in Orthodox churches consecrated twigs of willow, sprinkling them with Holy water. Consecrated branches decided to keep the whole year to decorate the icons in the house.
The people believed that the consecrated willow has healing properties, protects against evil forces. Therefore, the sprigs of willow touched the people, wishing them good health, they were placed at the bedside of the sick, and their children even lightly flog, to grow up healthy and not sick.
Blossoming buds of willow used as a cure for diseases.
The branches of willow hung in the corners of rooms, adorned their icons in the red corner. It was considered useful to eat a few buds of willow before the serious business of life, that he succeeded.
Willow strengthened over the entrance to the premises for livestock and poultry, hung in sheds and barns. On palm Sunday branches whipping livestock, not to hurt, and gave a good increase. The first pasture cattle on pastures necessarily conducted by branches of the willow. It was believed that cattle in this case will not be poisoned by toxic grass, will not be lost and will not become a victim of theft or predatory animals.
At the beginning of plowing a sprig of willow stuck in the first furrow. In some regions, chopped kidney willow was added to the seeds at planting. In the garden of the willow branches were tied to fruit trees or were stuck in the ground under the berry bushes.
In some places consecrated sprigs were placed in the hands of the dead as a symbol of the fact that they, like Jesus Christ, will overcome death and be resurrected.