Celebrating Linggo ng Palaspas (Palm Sunday) in the Philippines

Today is Palm Sunday (Linggo ng Palaspaas), an event which commemorates the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. Palm Sunday also ushers in the Holy Week (Semana Santa), which is significant even to non-Catholics because of two national holidays, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, which, in conjunction with Araw ng Kagitingan, results to a 5-day long weekend this year 2012 (see also list of 2012 holidays).

The Palm Sunday is part of Lent (cuaresma or kwaresma). The Holy Week ends with Easter Sunday. The 40-day Lent starts with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday.

If you’re a visitor to the Philippines, you may have noticed that Roman Catholics make up a large majority of the population. Filipino Catholics bring palm fronds, or palaspas in the local language, to the church during Palm Sunday. The palaspas is brought home after being blessed by the priest. The same palaspas is later burned and the ash used during the next Ash Wednesday.

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