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Palm Sunday

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Palm Sunday


by Tony Fernandes
 At the triple chimes
of village church bell,
we rose up early and saw
in the serene stillness before the dawn
the bright morning star in the East
right above the sky’s edge;
and as we turned our gaze
southwards above the horizon
saw the constellation
called the Southern Cross.
twinkling just above the backyard hedge.

Too dark and early we thought
to pluck the new shoot
of the coconut palm leaf;
so while some of us lay in wait
my siblings went back to sleep;
as the sky lightened a little bit
we saw the palm
and cut it in right earnest
with the last shooting star of the night
hastily streaking towards the west.

Somewhere nearby
the cock crew
heralding the early morn
with its wake-up call;
and a sudden rustle
as the first bird of the day took flight
from the mango tree
up my spine sent a slight chill.


Careful were we
not to rip the young palm open;
we decorated it the best we could
in the light of the early morning dawn;
then donning our Sunday best
onwards we walked
to the Church to have it blessed.

Returned home
with the sun up and bright
and proudly we handed over
the holy strands of the palm
to the old folks
inn the village
still busy by the fireside
they thanked, blessed and offered
as a reward
a cup of tea in return
intoning the timeless saying:

“God bless you my son”.  


Palm Sunday, the sixth and last Sunday of Lent, is the beginning of Holy Week.  
The Catholic community in Goa celebrate the day with great solemnity.
 Young children beautifully decorate new shoots of coconut palm leaves
and take them to church to have them blessed.
 The celebration recalls the solemn entry of Christ into Jerusalem.
After attending Mass and special prayer services in the church,
children return to their homes and
distribute the leaves to the people in their villages.


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