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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday - Palaspas

Palaspas, or decorative palm fronds, are part of the Catholic celebration of Palm Sunday in the Philippines, marking the start of Holy Week. They are brought to the Church to be blessed as part of the Palm Sunday mass and waved as the priest enters the Church, in commemoration of Jesus Christ's entry into Jerusalem.

The origins of the Palm Sunday palaspas can be traced as far back as the pre-Hispanic Philippines. In his 1589 account, Fray Juan de Plasencia describes how early Filipinos would use “leaves of the white palm, wrought into many designs” to decorate lamps during festivities. Similar uses of the palaspas have also been noted in different non-Catholic ethnic groups across the country, such as the Tausug who use kidlat-shaped leaves as wedding decorations.

This practice was then be absorbed into Filipino Catholicism, with palaspas being used to decorate the fiesta venue apart from being an integral part of Palm Sunday itself. The palaspas-making craft is passed on from family to family, and is usually a brisk business during Palm Sunday; in a report on the ABS-CBN news program Bandila in 2009, palaspas makers have a chance to earn a few thousand pesos during just one whole day of selling their product.

The palaspas is also now considered a local art form; in the same news report, the Manila Archdiocesan Museum sponsored an exhibit on the various designs of the palaspas that have been sourced throughout the country.

source: http://en.wikipilipinas.org/index.php?title=Palaspas