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Palm Sunday and Figs: An Ancient Tradition

Eating figs on Palm Sunday (sometimes referred to as Fig Sunday) is a tradition that came to America from England. What do figs have to with Palm Sunday, you ask? Well, the answer is: nobody knows. But there are several theories, possibly all apocryphal. One is that it comes from the story of Jesus cursing the fig tree on the way to Jerusalem. I kind of doubt this one even though it’s the most prevalent on the internet because the whole point of that story is that Jesus didn’t eat figs, so eating figs seems like a weird way to remember it. Also, that’s a story about something that happened on the way to Jerusalem, whereas Palm Sunday is about the arrival in Jerusalem.

Another theory is that it has to do with the story of Zacchaeus climbing a fig tree to see Jesus, but that’s also another story that doesn’t have anything to do with Palm Sunday. Finally, some people think that it’s because tradition (but not the Bible) holds that Jesus ate figs when he arrived in Jerusalem. This one makes the most sense to me because at least it has to with Palm Sunday, but I couldn’t say for sure. Whatever the origins, eating figs on the day is a nice tradition. Here are some recipes to make for your own Fig Sunday.

Fresh fig salad with cantaloupe, basil, and olives (pictured above) is refreshing and delicious. The fruit and olive combination makes for salty sweet magic.

Julie’s fresh figs with honey and hazelnuts are simple bites with tons of wonderful fig flavor.

Easy olive tapenade with dried figs makes for a great, crowd-pleasing appetizer, and you can make it in minutes.

And for dessert? How about these pomegranate-poached figs over ice cream. This simple topping has tangy, smoky, and sweet notes that will wow kids and adults alike.

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