On Palm Sunday, celebrating Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem, palms are brought by the faithful to Sunday services (palaspas) and are blessed. They are brought home to become ephemeral wall decors or additions to the ubiquitous altars.

Made from the unopened coconut leaves, the palms are believed to possess protective and healing properties. Beliefs and uses vary from region to region. Some use the blessed palms to ward off the devil and other evil spirts, to counter spells, and protect the houses from natural disasters - lightning, typhoons, and earthquakes.

A year later, most of the old blessed palms are burned and become an ingredient to a variety of uses.

For ash wednesday, the dried palm leaves are burned and mixed with water and used in the ritual of anointing foreheads on Ash Wednesday. Besides the obscure theologic dust-unto-dust symbolism, many belief it endows strength and impregnability.

For healing, the dried leaves are burned to ashes and mixed with coconut oil or hot water and applied to ailing parts: mumps, toothaches, muscle pains and poorly healing wounds. To increase its potency, a tribal variant mixes it with incense, charcoal and a piece of blessed candle.

Also used in the healing ritual of suob (Pausokan) where the fronds are burned and used for smoke or vapor treatments. In the Quezon, the shredded leaves are mixed with insenso kamangyan (incense) and a pinch of salt and placed on embers. The vapor treatments are commonly used for stomach ailments and listlessness and hyperactivity in children. An infusion of the ashes is sometimes drank for fevers.


  Additional Source:
Cuaresma (The Many Uses of the Palaspas. Fernando Zialcita) BookMark, 2000

F R I N G E     T H E R A P I E S

Anting-Anting Palaspas
Boni Pyramid Power
Erny Baron's Triangle Santo Nino Healing Rituals
Kudlit Tiuyuy
Kulam Tawas, Lunas, Bulong, Orasyon
Lunas Unton