There is so much of beauty in the traditions of the Catholic Church. In the old days, Palm Sunday used to be known also as Pascha Floridum, or the Bud of Pascha. This is a truly lovely thought. Easter Sunday (Pascha) is only eight days away, and so Palm Sunday is like the little flower bud that begins to show its colors before it blossoms to its full glory a few days later. That little flower bud still has alot of work to do--it still needs to break through the shell around it, just like we still have to go through the trials of Holy Week, and finish cracking our shells of sin. But then at the end, the bud becomes a gorgeous celebration of life and color, while our Easter Sunday reveals the glory of the Risen Christ and our consequent rebirth in His Light.
In 1513, the Spaniards discovered a peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico. It just so happened to be the day of Pascha Floridum, so the Spaniards named that peninsula Florida. Our own state of Florida was named after a lovely Catholic tradition--what a neat thought.
Pussy willows came into use in the northern European countries during the Middle Ages. Palms were very hard to come by, so churches in northern Europe didn't usually have any for Palm Sunday. They had to use various other branches instead. Pussy willows came into favor because they worked well with the symbolism of the Pascha Floridum.
There are so many wonderful things about the Catholic Church, but certainly her traditions are among the best things about her. They infuse a sense of romance and adventure into our lives. They give us something to look forward to, and something to live up to. They dress up our lives, and make the passing of time special. Thank you, Lord, for tradition!