Palm Sunday is always celebrated a week before Easter. In the Russian Orthodox Church, the Sunday before Easter is known as Pussy Willow Sunday (Ве́рбное воскресе́нье), when people carry pussy willows (ве́рба) instead of palm branches. Traditionally, the Eastern Slavs use pussy willows because palm trees do not grow in northern Europe. The pre-Christian Slavs, however, believed that the pussy willow had energizing properties. The blooming willow symbolizes the end of harsh winter and the renewal of spring. It also protects people and livestock from diseases, homes from lightening and misfortune.