So, what did you do with your palm leaves from Palm Sunday? In our family, we do some palm weaving.
We usually make two different kinds of palm weaving crosses.
The first one is known as a thumb-tack cross and isn’t really woven at all. People made these years ago. They are just simply two pieces of palm crossed with a thumb-tack placed at the intersection to hold them on the wall. They were used on barns and stables because farmers believed that the blessed palms placed there would keep the buildings of their livelihoods safe from fire and other natural disasters. We usually place these on our bedroom doors or the wall just outside our rooms.
The second type of palm weaving we do is the type I used to make each year with my students:
I begin by cutting a piece of palm leaf about 12 inches long and folded it in half. Cut another one about 8 inches long. For this piece, I folded each end in towards the middle. I placed this crossbeam on top of the vertical one. It is helpful to secure this with a staple or piece of tape or something similar to hold it in place while you finish it.
To finish off the cross:
I cut another piece of palm – I usually cut it in half lengthwise to make a thinner strip and wrap a piece of this around the intersection of the cross in an X fashion. I think this makes for a nice finish to the cross. Some people staple this to hold it in place but I don’t like for the staple to show. Tape doesn’t hold long-term. You could use a glue gun and put a dab of glue on the back to hold it but last year I used a piece of string, wrapped in the same X fashion, and then tied in the back to keep it there. I liked the look of the string with the palm.
I have seen a method where they didn’t use string or glue or anything of the sort. They wove and tucked the ends back into the palm cross and it held its shape as is. Maybe I’ll give that method a try this year!
Next year on Ash Wednesday, we will burn our palm crosses in preparation for a new season of Lent.