The Roman tradition uses olive branches on Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion.
The Missal in Latin (from which we draw our English translations) tells us that the ashes on Ash Wednesday are to be made from olive branches blessed the previous year, but that other branches may be used (no mention being made of palms).
However, our English translations of the Missal completely disguise the fact that olive branches are the primary choice.
POPE: PUGLIA OLIVE TREES ARRIVE FOR POPE TO BLESS
(Agenzia Giornalistica Italia) - Vatican, Saturday, April 8 - A hundred thousand olive branches have arrived from Puglia, sent to the Vatican in four refrigerator containers. Pope Benedict XVI will bless them tomorrow during the Palm Sunday mass in St. Peter's Square and they will be issued to the Catholics who are there. However, tomorrow afternoon, they will also be given out in the chapels of Roman hospitals and in other parishes. Six magnificent olive trees will decorate St. Peter's church square during the mass and will stay there for the entire Holy Week, until the mass on Easter Sunday. After the festivities, they will be planted in the Vatican gardens. This project is being called "The Puglia Garden, roots of peace". In addition to the olive trees, there will be 45,000 palms and 500,000 stems from the Mediterranean area. Thirty different arrangements will line the Pope's path from St. Peter's church square to the altar. Forty expert florists have been called to create the arrangements. This is part of the Terlizzi florists' co-operative "Project 2000", a project which involves flower growers and olive tree producers on a voluntary basis. "A garden from Puglia will represent peace and St. Peter's brotherly love during the Holy Week", the regional agricultural councillor, Pietro Pepe, told journalists. He pointed out that this was "a project that is effective and rich in meaning. It is a sign of a council which sees the olive as a universal symbol, one that is represented in the Region's coat of arms, and our region produces a lot of olives".
PHOTOS OF OLIVE BRANCHES IN THE POPE’S PALM SUNDAY PROCESSION AND MASS, 9 APRIL 2006
The following are links to photos that The Roamin’ Roman has posted on her blog.
One of six olive trees decorating St. Peter Square in Rome for Palm Sunday and all of Holy Week
Mounds of olive branches arranged as decorations of the pavement for the pope's Mass
Clergy with olive branches in the pope's Palm Sunday procession