The Marketplace

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Our church’s annual Palm Sunday re-enactment of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into the marketplace of Jerusalem seemed reason enough, I thought, for my grandchildren to be especially well dressed.


R L Kit cripple

The lame boy at the entry begged “Alms for the poor!” Since the food was provided free of charge, his free will collection helped defray some of the expense.


Laurel was to wear an heirloom dress, last year’s Easter frock.  Robert would be decked out in dress pants, a matching vest and his signature church accessory, a tie.   Quite the young clothes horse, he even insists on wearing one to the monthly pizza night.  Laurel carried her doll Kit and a handkerchief purse (scroll down the post) to carry her shekels.


heavily embroidered Swiss handkerchief

heavily embroidered Swiss handkerchief


One year ago, when the dress was finished, it turned out to be too short for the 6 year old.  So a lace flounce was added to the slip for more length.

It was no surprise that now, a year later, the dress was once again too short.  So Saturday night, after a busy day, when the grandchildren were finally bedded down, I dug out the two cards of lace edging and insertion.  Two more rows of lace were added to the slip.

Then, 20 minutes were spent ironing the Swiss batiste dress and the slip.  With all the lace edging and shaped insertion, this is a major operation.  Six year old Robert’s shirt, pants and vest were pressed and hung, ready to slip on before the rush to church.  Even though the proportion of the slip flounce to the dress was unbalanced, I knew Laurel and Robert would look so nice!

Regularly, they hear my admonition that going to God’s house means you should put some effort into your appearance.  This lecture is usually delivered early Sunday morning as I slick down Robert’s cowlick. So I was happy to put in the extra time getting their clothes ready.

As I began to shut down the sewing room, I noticed that the dress did not look as crisp as it should.  I had not used starch and the batiste really needed it.  So another 20 minutes was spent starching and then pressing the dress.  Finally, I was off to bed.

The children were up bright and early, eager to get to the marketplace and collect their allotment of golden shekels for purchases.  That allotment consisted of a handful, “But come back for more if you need it.”




What an occasion this is!  An incredible amount of work goes into the event, which really gives each attendant an understanding of the time and place of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry.  It is held during the Sunday School hour, between worship services.


entry RL Rob


Walls and an archway are built with huge blocks of stained and distressed styrofoam, chinked with Spanish moss.  The props, foods and layout of the Marketplace made that historical day a personal experience.

Of course, just inside the arch was the young donkey, just as Jesus said it would be.

donkey sign

Notice the sign with its Hebrew lettering. There were so many details like this.


To  the children’s delight, there was a farmyard, “Noah’s Landing,”  featuring animals that might have been for sale in such a market place. Goats, sheep, ducks, chickens and rabbits were like magnets drawing the children.


farmyard sm


Boys wandered among the crowd with baskets of baby bunnies and baby chicks.  Another boy carried a duck to be petted and admired.


L chicks


A lot of time has been spent sewing costumes to make the event more authentic.  Many of the men have been growing beards since Ash Wednesday. The entire choir and most of the youth were dressed in period garments and many served as vendors.

Much  to my very shameful, selfish dismay, the children’s Sunday School teacher spotted them and asked if they would like to wear a costume!  Thrilled, they went off to be outfitted.  Gulp.  Soon they were back at the Marketplace, petting the donkey in their new Palm Sunday attire.


L R donkey costume


The food was very authentic to the time.


passover grill2

For a shekel or a smile, shoppers were treated to delicious, hot grilled lamb.

A carpenter had made small wooden crosses for the children, some on a cord to wear as necklaces, others as simple pocket reminders of the meaning of Easter.

"The best humus in Jerusalem!" she proudly declares.

“The best humus in Jerusalem!” she proudly declares.


Another booth offered crocheted cross bookmarks.  Robert, a serious reader, snatched up that bargain.


Anthony sold fresh strawberries and grapes.  Dried apricots and dates were also served.

Anthony sold fresh strawberries and grapes. Dried apricots and dates were also served.


The basket booth vendor presented friendship bracelets to children.


sweet treats

Maria very quickly was sold out 13 dozen of her hot, homemade cinnamon rolls. That earned her 156 plastic golden shekels! Late comers regretted their tardiness.

This iron worker had baskets of crosses made of nails.


nail maker


The swaggering centurions were dressed elegantly, as required by their station.


L centurian


Temple priests and even grumpy Pontius Pilot were richly dressed.  For the duration of the joyful event, Pilot raged over the news of the coming of a “new king.”




But even as he fumed, palms were being purchased to welcome Jesus when he arrived.


Palms 4 sale arch


The procession into Jerusalem’s marketplace was as described in the Bible, with people waving palms and shouting  “Hosanna! ” and “New king!”


palm waving


Our rather large Jesus walked, rather than rode, with the  small donkey into the throng of adoring people.


Jesus donkey2


Then it was time for the worship service.  The entire costumed entourage, including Jesus, the donkey, and my grandchildren lined up outside the church in preparation for procession into the sanctuary.


L R waiting 2


No one knew that under their costumes were two very well dressed tykes, tickled pink to be wearing the robes of Jerusalem and waving palms.  It didn’t matter that Laurel’s elaborate dress was lengthened, starched and ironed crisp or that Robert’s pants and shirt were well pressed.  What really mattered is that this Bible story rings true to them.  They were there.

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