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Photos: Filipino Catholics usher in Holy Week with show of piety during pandemic

The tradition of weaving the "palaspas" from young coconut palm leaves, locally called "ibus," dates back to the pre-Hispanic era

Palm Sunday marks the start of the Holy Week observance in the Christian world, and in the Philippines, before the pandemic, the day would usher in colorful religious traditions and rituals.

Men, women, and children carrying palm fronds to be blessed by priests would gather outside the church to wait for the priest to come out for the blessing.

The tradition of weaving the “palaspas” from young coconut palm leaves, locally called “ibus,” dates back to the pre-Hispanic era.

In a 1589 account, Franciscan Father Juan de Plasencia noted that Filipinos use “leaves of the white palm, wrought into many designs” to decorate lamps during festivities.

The fronds are later taken home and placed on front doors or windows supposedly to ward off evil spirits.

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