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Ukrainians celebrate Willow Sunday

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A priest blesses people with holy water in front of St. Volodymyr's Cathedral on Willow Sunday on April 24.

Hundreds of Kyivans came to St. Volodymyr's Cathedral on April 24 to be blessed at a service led by Patriarch of Ukrainian Orthodox church Filaret on Willow Sunday.

Willow Sunday, called Palm Sunday in Western rites of Christianity, is celebrated on the Sunday before Easter Sunday.

Willow branches are used to represent the palm fronds Christians believe were placed on the path in front of Jesus on his entry to Jerusalem before his arrest and crucifixion.

Willow is used in many northern and eastern European countries for this festival, where palm fronds are not available due to the climate. The willow branches symbolize new life, and are blessed by priests during the marking of the festival.

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