Thiruvananthapuram, March 24 (IANS) Across Kerala, churches witnessed a good number of Christians turning up for the Palm Sunday service.
Palm Sunday is observed with lots of reverence as churches distribute palm leaves freshly cut from coconut trees to commemorate Jesus Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, when palm branches were placed in his path, before his arrest and crucifixion on Good Friday.
“Even though I am not a regular church goer, this is one Sunday when I make it a point to go and I feel some sort of fulfilment too. In our church the service is a bit lengthy and it takes more than two hours but I enjoy it,” said a church goer who did not wish to be identified.
The palms that are distributed to the faithful are either cut from the coconut trees in the church compound or are brought in by devotees the previous day and stacked up in the churches to be given away the following Sunday.
After getting the palm leaf, people return home and keep it near the picture of Jesus Christ till the Christmas time, when it is returned to the church.
Across the churches in the state, the Palm Sunday services were led by bishops of various churches.
Christians account for 22 percent of the state’s 32 million population and Catholics comprise 50 percent of the Christians in Kerala, followed by the Orthodox Church with a population of around 2.5 million.
Jacobites, Mar Thoma, the Church of South India and the Pentecostal churches make up the rest.
Starting Sunday, till Easter Sunday (March 31), the devout Christians turn vegetarian and some of them have only the gruel (kanji-rice without removing the water) with pickle.
On Good Friday, all churches serve this after the service is over.