- Title: PHILIPPINES: Filipino Catholics observe Palm Sunday
- Date: 2nd April 2012
- Summary: VARIOUS OF PRIEST SPRINKLING HOLY WATER AT DEVOTEES WAVING PALM FRONDS
- Embargoed: 17th April 2012 13:00
- Location: Philippines, Philippines
- Country: Philippines
- Topics: Religion,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVACX15A0YVQJCE31KMTVL9LS8JP
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Filipino Catholics celebrated Palm Sunday, the first day of the Holy Week, by waving palm fronds during a Catholic mass on April 1.
The traditional celebration is observed across the Catholic country.
In Manila, thousands of worshippers attended a morning mass service at the Santo Domingo Church and had their palm fronds blessed by a Catholic priest.
The blessing rite recalls the story of Jesus Christ's entrance to Jerusalem before his passion and crucifixion. He was welcomed by the people with cheers while strewing his path with small branches of trees.
In Catholic belief, the waving of palms is a symbol of discipleship.
"There really is a God. You can feel his presence, not only because it's Holy Week. Everyday can be Holy Week," said churchgoer Marian Porras.
Hotel employee Jomar de Vera brought his 2-year-old daughter with him to teach her about the importance of Holy Week.
"All Catholics must attend church service to observe this day. It is the start of Holy Week," he said.
Palm Sunday is fraught with significance in predominantly Catholic Philippines.
After the mass, devotees return home and hang their blessed palm fronds on their front doors or windows as a sign of welcoming Christ into their homes. Some believe that hanging the palms can also ward off evil.
Holy Week is the climax of the Lenten season, a period of prayer, penance, repentance and self-denial for Catholics.
Palm Sunday marks the start of Holy Week, when Catholics remember the last stretch of Christ's earthly life as recorded in the Bible. His passion and death are commemorated, and Easter Sunday marks his resurrection.
Over 80 percent of the 94 million population in the Philippines are practising Catholics, and various festivities are held during Holy Week.
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