Photo by Rick Gush
Last Sunday was Palm Sunday, so I went with my wife to the local blessing of the palm fronds down on the bay.¬† There were hundreds of the local folks, all carrying little palm decorations.¬†
Here in Rapallo, they use very attractive woven palm pieces with sprigs of olive mixed in.¬† The booths in the vegetable market downtown sell a variety of these woven palm leaves, and at the blessing site a group of craftspeople are making new ones as quickly as the people come to make a donation and take the finished pieces. My wife bought palm weavings for herself, her mother and her sister.¬† She even sends some of these to my own mother in California sometimes.¬†¬†
Photo by Rick Gush
Everybody holds these palm and olive decorations up in the air when the priest blesses them, then they take them home and put them up on the wall somewhere.¬† The decorations are used for a year and then replaced with new ones.¬† The old ones are supposed to be burned, not thrown away.¬† I don‚Äôt take much part in all this, but I do get the job of burning the old palm decorations every year.
The first photo is the group of woven palms my wife bought.¬† The second photo is a shot of the floral Easter bells mounted downtown.¬† Rapallo does a pretty good job of putting up lots of different flower beds and other floral decorations.
This Sunday is Easter.¬† We‚Äôll eat lunch with the family, and it‚Äôs sort of like Christmas in that people give each other gifts of chocolate and sweets.¬† The tradition here is to give hollow chocolate eggs that have ‚Äúsurprises‚ÄĚ inside.¬†
For the kids there are a ton of different big eggs a foot or more in height in the markets, and they all contain surprise gifts.¬† Most of the gifts are cheap plastic toys and jewellery, but one can easily find eggs with real jewellery, real toys and nice stuff.¬† Of course there are chocolatiers that will seal up whatever gift one brings them.¬† I myself have sealed a surprise gift, a cute watch, inside a paper m√Ęche egg for my wife, and I have chocolate eggs for my other relatives.
I also brought my mother-in-law some flowers in pots yesterday, as she loves stuff that one gets for free.¬† One of the plants I brought was a fresh potting of some marguerite cuttings I rooted in the manure-heated coldframe.¬† They were quite robust and already flowering in the rooting bed.¬†
The second flower was a pot full of blooming chionodoxa, part of the booty from a raid my wife and I made on an abandoned villa above Camogli last fall.¬† The gardens of the villa had been nice at one time and I harvested a number of bags full of aspidistra, daffodils, bergenia, violets, agapanthus, ivy and ripe persimmons.¬† It was a great harvest, and most of the stuff is now doing great in the garden.¬†