How to Burn Palm Leaves for Ash Wednesday

by Mackenzie Wright
Palm leaves obtained from church on Palm Sunday are blessed, so they should be treated with a certain amount of reverence.

Palm leaves obtained from church on Palm Sunday are blessed, so they should be treated with a certain amount of reverence.

Palm leaves obtained from church on Palm Sunday are blessed, so they should be treated with a certain amount of reverence. Blessed items should never be discarded in the trash. The proper way to dispose of your palm leaves is to burn them.

Lay or hang your palm leaves somewhere dry and well ventilated until they are brittle and dry.

Place a heat-proof container outdoors on a heat-proof surface. You can use a large, clean coffee can, cast iron pot or small metal trash bin placed on firm dirt, cement, or a driveway. Be sure there are no overhanging trees, foliage or awnings above.

Say a prayer over your palms, if desired. Strike a long fireplace match and light the palms at the bottom of the pot.

Allow the palm leaves to burn until they are reduced to ashes. Cover the container with a metal pot lid and allow the container to cool.

Place a sieve over another container to catch the ashes. Pour the ashes into the sieve, gently, trying to preserve as much as you can. Gently rub your finger over the sieve to help the ashes crumble and fall through.

Bury any large pieces that remained in the sieve. Say a prayer of thanks as you do so, if you like.

Warnings

  • Do not burn your palms on windy days. Use caution and stand back while the palm leaves are burning.
  • Do not try to pour out palm ashes while ashes are still hot or embers remain.

Items you will need

  • Heat-proof container
  • Fireplace matches
  • Metal pot cover
  • Sieve
  • Container with tight fitting lid
  • Holy water (optional)

Photo Credits

  • cocogelado/iStock/Getty Images