Palm Sunday, more commonly called Pussywillow Sunday or Verbna nedilia is an important event. Some Catholic churches will use palms just as Western churches do. In Ukraine, palms were not available and were replaced by pussywillow twigs, one of the first plants to show signs of life in spring. Most Ukrainian Canadian churches, both Orthodox and Eastern rite Catholic, will use pussywillows. Parishioners bring pussywillow twigs to church and have them blessed. Most churches also provide some branches for those parishioners who cannot bring their own.
Parishioners are supposed to hit each other with blessed pussywillows (not hard, of course) and recite a little ditty that announces the coming of Easter. The little rhyme reminds people that Easter is coming in one week.
Blessed pussywillows, like holy water, are powerful items and are used for many of the same purposes as holy water. No one claims to eat them, but people do use them to avert storms in much the same way as Nellie Kotylak of Montmartre used holy water. Blessed pussywillows are planted in gardens to help crops grow. Like holy water, blessed pussywillows cannot be simply thrown away and must be burned so that their smoke ascends to heaven.