Palm Sunday (Rameaux) From Both Sides

Palm Sunday started on Saturday with a rare service at our 12th century church, St Clair’s, in Nouzerines. It’s seldom open so we make sure we go to every event that’s held there to show our support for this wonderful building.

The service was taken entirely by lay preachers. In generally pedantic and rule-following France, that was something of a surprise. Generally everything has to be done by someone with proper qualifications in triplicate. I guess that there’s not enough priests to go around any more.

Another surprise was that Chris was asked to carry the cross in the opening procession. Stéphanie, who led the service, pounced as we came in the door. Chris was delighted to be asked, but a little embarrassed since he, Rors and I had cycled down, so he was wearing cycling longs and a bright yellow cycling jacket. He removed the latter – to reveal his very old Denis the Menace jumper! But nobody seemed to mind his unconventional appearance and he did a very good job. The cross, a jug of water and a picture of Jesus were left on the altar.

The most interesting feature of the ceremony was the blessing of buis, boxwood or box elder, at the end. Those in the know, that is everyone except us, had come clutching a generous spray of it. There was a basket with some in at the door for people who’d either forgotten or never known to bring their own. The water from the jug, which was blessed during the service, was emptied into the font at the end. Then as people went out, they dipped their buis into the font, gave it a little shake and took the damp shrub home to display in the house over Easter.

Today, the day itself, we saw the secular side of Easter preparation celebrations. It was the school chasse d’oeufs, Easter Egg hunt, this year at the stadium in Nouzerines. We cycled down again and were nearly late since I had to do a last minute bike swap due to a puncture. It was its usual happy and disorganised chaos. Rors found five eggs and claimed his prize.

It was a fundraising do, naturally, but I was happy to buy the two very impressing objets (objects) – that’s how the teachers described them! – that Ruadhri had painstakingly made. Rors isn’t a great one for crafting so these took real application and dedication on his part. First there’s a noteholder with a wonderful pin and cotton éolienne (windmill). Rors chose to do the background in my favourite colour blue and added some pretty ribbon round the edge.

And the other gift was a tissue holder made from layers of card and wallpaper. I’m mega impressed and now have high expectations for what’s coming my way on Fête des Mères at the end of May. And that one will be free!

0 Replies to “Palm Sunday (Rameaux) From Both Sides”

  1. How clever of Rors to create a windmill on your notepad holder. He definitely took note of your enthusiasm as the éoliennes in your region were being completed. It’s a real treasure – one that you’ll enjoy looking at together when he’s older.

    I’ve never been to a school fundraiser where parents buy the children’s crafts. Is the price set by the school or the students? Or do the parents make a donation of how ever much they want? What is the money used for? Sorry for all of the questions, but this is a new concept to me.

    1. There’s no end to ingenuity when it comes to rasing money for schools! The teachers set the prices, mainly to cover materials and with a very small profit margin. The money goes towards school trips – to concerts, the town library etc. We pay for very little. We all give a donation of 10 euro per child at the beginning of the school year. Most outings are covered by the local Mairie or the slush fund raised by events like the egg hunt. Parents don’t mind putting their hands in their pockets because it’s so seldom we’re asked for money. Sometimes we don’t even have to pay anything for the yearly school trip, and if we do, it’s nothing like the full price. France is very good with education and supporting schools generally.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *