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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Butara for Palm Sunday

In Slovenia, evergreens are bundled with ribbon for Palm Sunday, a radiant beginning for Holy Week.

imageButara for sale

Pogacarjev Square

Ljubljana, Slovenia

March 2005

Photo: Boštjan Burger

You won’t find many palm trees growing in Ljubljana or anywhere nearby. So much the better. Palm Sunday, remembering Jesus’ final entry into Jerusalem, is observed in Slovenia with a glorious custom, the yearly making and purchasing of butara (literally “bundles”). In these traditional ornaments, sprigs and branches of local greenery are bound up with colored ribbons. Some look to be the size of maracas, others tall as totem poles.

An enduring decorating tradition in Slovenia, the butara are turned out both by schoolchildren and by the pros, who sell their Holy Week wares in souvenir shops, groceries and open-air markets.  According to this source, the butara “will often be blessed on Palm Sunday and then placed in the home for the holiday.” We understand that each butara stays displayed in the home all year long; the next spring, it’s discarded and a new one takes its place.

If you check out only one Human Flower Project link all year, be patient as it loads, and let it be this one! Boštjan Burger has composed a series of “Virtual Reality Panoramas” of Slovenia, complete with sound. Three of them show the flower market in Ljubljana’s Pogacarjev Square outside St. Nicolas Cathedral before Palm Sunday 2005. Here, with shuffling feet and clanging church bells, you can see people shopping for butara. There are also beautiful sweeping shots of the flower sellers, with their bouquets of roses and chrysanthemums and fine array of wreaths.

imageThe Flower Market of Pogacarjev Square

March 21, 2005

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Photo: Boštjan Burger

Boštjan writes that some butara are tied together not with ribbon but “shavings of wood ...painted various colors.” He calls this custom a “peculiarity of Ljubljana ethnology. Colorific bundles made by handy craftswomen or men are small works of art and the most (re)quested goods on a marketplace in a week before the Palm Sunday. Bundles made from shavings of wood were meant for the townspeople, who had no fields and no cattle.”

Thank you, Boštjan, for permitting us to “snap” a few stills of your magnificent moving pictures. Oh, to be in Ljubljana today!

Posted by Julie on 03/31 at 08:49 PM
Culture & SocietyReligious RitualsPermalink