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Palm Sunday parade in Bethnal Green? Must be coming up to Easter at Jesus Green

PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 April 2017

Vicar borrows donkey for Palm Sunday Parade through Columbia Road flower market

Vicar borrows donkey for Palm Sunday Parade through Columbia Road flower market

Diocese of London

You can always tell when Easter is just a week away—they have Palm Sunday parades in London’s East End seven days before the Big Day.

Reviving traditional Palm Sunday parade at St Peter's Bethnal GreenReviving traditional Palm Sunday parade at St Peter's Bethnal Green

Worshippers at St Peter’s Bethnal Green hold their Anglo Catholic traditional Palm Sunday procession this weekend, distributing palm crosses and banging drums.

The much forgotten tradition was revived when the new parish priest, The Rev Adam Atkinson, was appointed.

“There weren’t many people taking part when I arrived,” he said. “We would stand on the pavement outside the church, say a few ‘Hosannas’ and then scamper back into the church.

“We had to either scrap it and go inside—or perhaps persuade more people to take part.”

That’s just what he did last year, leading the procession from the appropriately-named Jesus Green and through London’s famous Columbia Road flower market gathering onlookers along the way to join in the procession, including mums pushing wheelchairs.

Even a donkey from the nearby city farm in Hackney Road joined in as the procession wound its way past the flower market stalls.

Some onlookers crossed themselves, others gave quizzical looks and Fr Atkinson has to explain what was going on. He’s hoping the people of Bethnal Green are ‘more savvy’ tomorrow.

The Palm Sunday procession to St Peter’s Bethnal Green starts at 10.30am on Jesus Green in Quilter Street, behind Columbia Road Market.

Poplar Methodist Church is also staging its Palm Sunday parade, starting at Poplar Park, off East India Dock Road.

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