Palm Sunday Memories from the Fenns

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Morong, Rizal, Philippines – Palm Sunday was beautiful and colorful.  I didn’t sleep very well as I was afraid that if I sleep I’ll miss the sunrise Palm Sunday Services.  At five o’clock in the morning, Bob and I made it to the town plaza where hundreds of people were gathered.  I saw some familiar faces, relatives and friends.  I even met my cousins from the San Francisco Bay Area and Florida.

 The priest held a brief service, then in the old tradition of tracing the steps of Jesus to Jerusalem, women placed their mats where the priest and his apostles walked to the church.  People followed with this beautiful statue of Jesus riding on a donkey, on a carousel being pushed by men.  By sunrise, the procession found its way to the church courtyard where the Blessing of the Palms were done by the priest, followed by the Palm Sunday mass, the official start of Holy Week in the Catholic tradition. Hundreds more people waving their palms were gathered to meet the procession.  The First Mass of Palm Sunday was spiritually beautiful and joyful!

In the evening, at exactly seven o’clock, the procession of the Stations of the Cross around the town was held.   Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion. The Stations of the Cross are a series of 14 crosses, usually accompanied by images, representing events in the Passion of Christ and its immediate aftermath. Each station, in addition to representing an event, signifies the actual station, or site, of the event in Jerusalem or on Calvary, or Golgotha, and the series as a whole is, in effect, a model of the Via Dolorosa, the route along which Christ was taken to Calvary. The stations may be placed along the walls of a church or a chapel, or outdoors, along the way to a place of pilgrimage, as a wayside shrine, or in a freestanding group.*


 In every procession from the church our street becomes the starting point, circling and crossing every main artery in the town within walking distance, people walking with lit candles and saying the rosary, with the band playing. The first station was in front of the house across the street, so it stopped for prayers for a few minutes, then proceeded to the next station until the fourteenth station.  This procession should last about 2 hours.  Processions on Holy Wednesday and Good Friday are huge.

Our street, I can happily say, is the closest street to the church. In this particular area of town came the Feliciano clan, one of the largest families in town – not wealthy in material things, but rich in kindness and highly respected.  My parents brought us close to the church.  The priests that came and went have set foot in our home – for the sharing of a meal or just to greet.  Needless to say, which is why Bob and I have put ourselves as the caretaker of our family home, where most family gatherings are held.  During Easter, we host our family for a Good Friday feast from 5 to 7 PM, while we prepare to watch the procession.  We light our house with candles.  My friends wave at me, sometimes stopping for a brief chat.

Our town is also the fortunate steward of one of the most historic churches in the Philippines, Morong Catholic Church that was built originally in the 1600s high above the town.  Our street sits at the foot of the steps going up to a highly elevated church that overlooks the town from every angle.  The church is famous for its baroque structure, a favorite of movie makers, an attraction for tourists year round.

For more information on the Morong Catholic Church, go to:

For images of Palm Sunday, go to:

I ask everyone to enjoy this spiritual Easter tradition and welcome you to share yours.

Posted by villager4ever

48 thoughts on “Palm Sunday Memories from the Fenns

  1. Hello, villagers. Enjoy this Easter Palm Sunday tradition. View the photos in our hillaryvillagers photo gallery for images of our celebration. Let’s share our own cultural traditions of Easter.

  2. Thank for sharing your beautiful pictures and traditions Normita. Palm Sunday looks completely different when you live in a land of palms. The church is beautiful.

    In the previous thread I posted the history and significance of eggs at Easter. CT, I had never heard of the “red” eggs tradition before. Nor did I know that eggs and dairy were historically part of the Lental fast. Never knew there was a pancake day. Rather during Lent, eggs and pancakes were frequent Friday meals when we were young.

    Peace, villagers. It’s been raining hard here. There are flood watches in effect. Lucky hates it when he has to do his business in the rain.

  3. Taylor, eggs, dairy and bread are part of our Easter feast. On Holy Thursday, there is a wonderful celebration where a couple acts as the host of the Last Supper, complete with the making of a Lamb made of eggs, dairy, potatoes and bread. The Lamb is the symbol of sacrifice for the Israelites who were sent on an exodus. There is a procession from the home of the host to the church for a mass, with the Lamb put in a decorated carousel, and carried by young men dressed in native attire, then a sharing of the meal (big feast!) at the home of the host after the mass. Included in this procession are church organizations and hosts of the past celebration, from 1931 to the present. Descendants of early hosts carry the tradition by joining.

    Bob and I were hosts in 2004. My brothers put up a covered tent complete with decorations of green branches. They built me an arch decorated with bamboo and flaglets. Community people came two days before to help in the preparations. It was a very spiritual celebration for the family. Attire for this affair is Filipiniana, every couple has an umbrella. Our town is noted for this celebration, called Cordero Celebration, an ancient Spanish Catholic tradition.

    • Normita, I’m assuming the name of your town is Rizal, where the church is located. One of my husband’s friends is from the Phillipines and I when I see her next I plan to ask her about the church and celebration.

    • Hi Normita,
      I so enjoy the photos you post! The Palm Sunday pics are lovely—what a magnificent church.
      Hope you are enjoying your trip.

      Happy Easter!
      Ann & Jackie

  4. Good Morning, Villagers…gray clouds bringing light rain our way, highs in the mid 60’s!

    Normita…thanks for sharing your traditions, the pictures help illustrate exactly what you’re referring to…it looks so peaceful and beautiful. I can imagine my husband had many of those same traditions as a child in Indonesia. I think the traditions of everyone pitching in to help each year is very much a part of your culture and often one that’s forgotten when people come to America.

    The power of traditions passed down from year to year, decade to decade and century to century…can never be underestimated…the ties that bind.

    Off to walk ahead of the rain and errands to run….enjoy the day…

  5. Thank you for sharing this Normita. It was wonderful to read. I love these traditions and we have a lot of them!

    Holy Week for us represents fasting and a lot of church. Services can sometime go on for hours. They are nice and I do try and attend what I can. I do love Friday night services the best where there is a procession of Christs tomb. The tomb is decorated with flowers by people in the community who start this very early in the morning. My daughter loves going to this every year.

    Red eggs are dyed and after midnight Saturday, they are cracked symbolizing the resurrection. There is a traditon even around the eggs. One person tries to crack anoth person egg while uttering Christ is Risen. For some it becomes a fun game of sorts to see who has the strongest egg! One year, my son painted a wooden egg red. He won all the egg cracking until his uncle realized that he was cheating!

    Lamb soup and a lamb dinner with sweet easter bread comes along too during the day with all fasting lifted.

    Have a good day all.

    • We raised milking cows, a few beef cattle and pigs on the farm where I grew up. One year at county fair time, my cousin asked me to help show a sheep she was taking to the fair. Since that experience, I’ve had no desire to eat or taste lamb or mutton, included lamb chops, Bottom line, I’ve never eaten lamb so it is not a part of our tradition. P.S., I also don’t drink milk — my mom would pasteurize the milk before we used it. I love dairy products, just not milk so I never eat cereal. We bought chicks every spring for our supply of chickens to raise, butcher and freeze. All the chickens would be gone by the fall. We never raised hens for their eggs.

      I love the red egg cracking contest CT. Did anyone ever slip in a raw egg?

      Go, we watched a good movie called Frozen River last nigh on DVD. It is filmed by a woman about two women and I think you would like it. Here is a brief description but try not to read too much about it before you watch.

      Courtney Hunt’s feature directorial debut FROZEN RIVER is a powerfully unflinching tale of two women, who, driven by economic hardship, form an unlikely partnership smuggling illegal immigrants across the Canadian border.

      If you are making omelets over the holiday, try using a bit of fresh parsley, tarragon, and chives in the eggs. Then top with one of two thin slices of brie before you fold it into an omelet. Yummy.

  6. Hello to all.

    Normita and KEY, it was very interesting to read about your Palm Sunday and Easter traditions! Thanks!

    Happy Birthday to MaryPuma today!

    Teri, how did you know today was Mary’s birthday??

  7. Hello Everyone,

    Thankyou for sharing your stories about your Palm Sunday and Easter traditions just as MJ said in the comment above mine.

    Normita it sounds so beatiful there!

    Happy Birthday MaryPuma, have a great birthday and many more to come!

    MJ… LOL i dont even remember how i found out it was Mary’s Birthday im sure i must have read it on a older blog somewhere. I have a book and i try to write each ones birthday down if i catch it and i think i almost have everyones except a couple LOL.
    I will have to get my book out and see who i might not have and see if anyone knows LOL.

    I will talk to you all later as i cant stay on the computer, im still dealing with the 2 sick kids and watching SunnyJune very close.

    Take care and have a great day all.


  8. As always the village is filled with loving thoughts from the heart. Normita, Taylor and KEY you brought me to tears with your descriptions of tradition, family and the passion of Christ.

    I grew up on a dual Christian family. My dad was Ukrainian and his parents were Eastern orthodox Catholic and followed the Gregorian calendar and my mom;s parents followed the Julian calendar being Roman Catholic. So we had 2 Easter and Christmas days to celebrate a few weeks apart. Only received presents once though from Santa Claus.

    My grandmothers made an Easter food basket to be blessed by the priest on Holy Saturday. They dyed eggs with onion peels to make them a brown red color. Pancakes were made on Shrove Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. We were encouraged to give up sweets and fats for Lent. No meat was eaten on Fridays during Lent. Many Ukrainian relatives made the decorated eggs with wax and intricate drawings. Our Easter meals are mostly pork in some form and babka bread, a sweet bread, horse radish and of course hard boiled eggs. Chocolate bunnies and eggs too and jelly beans abound. My mom always had an egg hunt too on Easter Sunday at her house.

    I usually attend church services from Thursday to Sunday. There are special services to commemorate the Passion of Christ and Holy Thursday celebrates his instituting the Eucharist at the Last Supper. I love buying spring flowers too to celebrate the Resurrection.

    Happy Birthday MaryPuma.

    • Tanya,

      I have never met or heard of a dual Christian family with two different calendars. Thanks for sharing some of the details and for describing your “pancake” day. What day was New Years? Our small country Catholic church had about 20 families all of whom were farmers. The church is now closed but the church and cemetery still stand and they have Memorial Day services there every two years. Our family was often traveling to Iowa to spend the weekend with my cousins for Easter so I remember the services there more than in our small church. And Easter Egg hunts were always the best.

      One of my daughter’s middle school art assignment was to blow out an egg and decorate it. I still have that egg in my small collection of eggs. She did a beautiful job with small beads.

      I know we are all watching the news but the village could be a special haven to “give up” politics for the rest of Lent. Lets enjoy each other and the beauty of spring for the rest of this week.

  9. Good morning, villagers. It is 8:21 AM, Tuesday.

    Taylor, the name of our town is Morong, located in the province of Rizal, in the island of Luzon. That will help your husband in talking with his friend. It can also be googled and lots of good information. I did it last night, and I found a complete write up about our town in a website that Bob and I created, that was so funny!

    The eggs play a major role in the celebration of Easter.

  10. My friend had dark carpet when her kids were small. She would dip her finger tips in flour on the night before Easter and make “rabbit” footprints for her kids to discover in the morning. Her kids now have kids–I wonder if they are keeping up the tradition?

  11. Hi everyone – been catching up on all the posts – thank you all so much, all of you, for your wishes on my birthday. We had a very nice time, easy walks, nice meals, more birthday cake, beautiful ocean, beautiful hills. And Teri, I am so pleased you kept my birthday date in your book, how very considerate, thank you.

    Normita – the pictures are so nice, thank you. And the story of the red eggs, I did not know that. I don’t think I have ever seen a red egg. All of my Easter eggs are pinks, blues, yellows, and green, but never red.

    Our important day was Good Friday. We would wake up and pray, then at noon sharp we would stop and say a rosary. In my mother’s tradition, noon was the time of day that Christ died. We did not go to church that day, church was 5 miles away, and usually we did not have a car. Many times my mother and I would walk to church.

    Easter Sunday was a very, very happy day. It was church and mass, then a large Easter egg hunt, with lots of stuff to eat, and new clothes to wear. The really big kids would hide the eggs for the littler kids, and keep the other kids away from the toddlers’ eggs (which we hid out in the open) so that the toddlers’ would find them. The big kids would make the little babies cry because they could not find eggs.

    We had chickens on our farm too, and we bought our baby chicks from the Farmer’s store. Some of our chickens were for eating, some for laying eggs and for hatching baby chicks in the spring. I loved the baby chicks, would put them in a box at night inside the house to keep them warm, and let them out again in the morning.

    Our tradition on Good Friday was bread pudding, no meat. I don’t know why. Easter lunch was ham or chicken, with potato salad, carrot salad, and coconut cake. Always coconut cake.

  12. I just read some posts on NOquarter. They are saying that POTUS landed in Afghanistan in the middle of the night, had the soldiers stay up until midnight to hear him speak, and flew back out under the cover of darkness. They are calling him a coward, that it was disgraceful to have the troops stay up until midnight for a photo op. That it showed that we could not defend the air space for his landing except at night, a symbol of weakness to other countries. What have you guys heard?

  13. One year we took the kids to Rehobeth Beach DE for Easter weekend–they had a “beach” Easter hunt. Oh my, what a free for all! The eggs were hidden in the sand but there were too many kids for the size of the beach. At one point a kid just took eggs from my son’s basket. We never went back.

    Mary, we’re so glad you had a nice birthday. Your Easter rememberances reminded me of our annual trip to get an “Easter hat”! I have a large head and most hats for kids just would not fit my head. My mom finally gave up and would sew a garland of silk flowers to a headband.

    P.S. When I was asked to be a bridesmaid for friends weddings many years later, I insisted that we would have no hats. Most women’s hats do not fit me.

    Good night. They predict another day of rain tomorrow.

  14. Mary, the slip into Afghanistan by the totus in the middle of the night is extraordinarily out of the norm. Didn’t he realize that the soldiers need their rest to be alert? It’s all about clips and photos.

  15. Today, Bob and I went with my cousin and her husband to a town about 50 miles away. This town is noted for embroidered fabrics used for formal Filipiniana attires, as well as handcrafted doilies, placemats and tablecloths. I found a very pretty doily for the coffee table. Then we found a restaurant famous in town for home-cooked food.

  16. Tomorrow evening (Wednesday) there is a big procession around town that accdg to my niece will have about 45 statues on carousel, decorated with fresh flowers, with lights that glow, with saints all dressed in their best. These statues are under the care of families for generations,inherited and passed down to descendants. Owners of these statues go home to tend to this Easter celebration to include their statues on the procession. Our street, as I mentioned earlier, is the first street where the procession circles. So my brothers, sisters and their families whose streets are not on the procession route come to our house to watch, light candles and greet friends.

    • Normita _ I can just picture this procession. It sounds wonderful. I would have loved one of those pieces of embroidery, wish I had gone with you…

  17. Good morning all! Cold and rainy in CT today. I found water in the basement and then I was rained on in the train due to a ceiling leak. Things could be worse.

    Looks like we are going to have a nice Easter weekend though.

    Have a good day everyone.

  18. Good Morning, Villagers…wet and windy at times, highs in the upper 50’s…we’re leaving March like a lion! Our Mt. Diablo had over an inch of rain last night!!

    I’m enjoying the many family traditions at Easter…thanks for sharing. It’s amazing how I’m unfamiliar with some of them…there’s so much in this wild wonderful world I don’t know yet.

    Normita…I think your family home is in wonderful hands…hearing about all the various processions and traditions in your part of the world is fascinating.

    I need to find our Easter baskets today…it’s a high priority…we used them last year, but I’m unsure about where I stored them in this place…wish me luck!

    Enjoy the day…stay dry..

    • My sister gave me a Longaberger ceramic Easter bunny teapot three years ago and I have not found it for two years. I know I put it back in the original box. We have a walk up attic and I’m guessing it is somewhere under a pile.

      Good luck with the baskets. I have lots of those.

  19. Good morning all – glad to hear the Easterners are getting a good Easter Sunday. CT – I hope you get sunshine and don’t have to wear a coat.

    I am melancholy today, thinking about Easter coming up, how it is a day of celebration, verses the state of our world. My only prayer is that this time of tribulation subside. I pray that Teri and her kids get well, that Tanya’s family gets better, and that Normita returns home safely. Simple prayers of hope for a better day.

  20. Taylor (and anyone else who is interested), did you know about this:

    Pro-life group endorses Sue Lowden for Senate
    Posted: March 30th, 2010 01:43 PM ET

    From CNN’s Taylor Harris

    (CNN) – The Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion rights organization, announced Tuesday it will endorse Republican front-runner Sue Lowden for U.S. Senate in Nevada.

    “Right now there is a crying need for a pro-life woman’s voice in the Senate and Sue Lowden is committed to being that voice,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the group’s candidate fund. “[She] combines everything we are looking for: an articulate female spokesman with the courage to back it up with advocacy for the unborn and their mothers.”

    Lowden, the former Nevada Republican Party chairwoman, will face Danny Tarkanian and Sharron Angle in a June 8 primary for a chance to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in November.

    A recent Mason-Dixon poll shows Lowden leading Tarkanian by nearly 20 points in the primary and the Senate’s top Democrat by 13 points.

  21. Karel, your baskets will show up where you least expect them to be. I have some decorative glass Easter eggs from Crate and Barrel that I leave in the curio all year round, along with some merry miniatures of bunnies. They are too tiny to be found, so I leave them out! LOL

    Before I left, I bought an Easter wreath (artificial silk flowers) and a basket and that’s our decor on the coffee table.

    • If Karel doesn’t find her baskets, they will become May baskets. We had so much fun as grade school kids making May baskets in art class.

  22. New blood seems to be stablizing NJ’s economy:

    Here’s some good news for New Jersey residents, who pay more in state and local taxes than people anywhere else in the United States: earlier this month, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie released a budget proposal that contains no tax increases. He would even sunset, on schedule, a one-year “temporary” increase in the state’s income tax.

    This is a refreshing shift for the Garden State, where thirty years of governance by Republicans and Democrats has pushed state and local taxes ever higher, from the 10th-most taxed state in 1980 to #1 today, according to the Tax Foundation. And it means Christie has made an impressively austere proposal, given that New Jersey’s $10.7 billion budget gap is one of the country’s largest, on a percentage basis.

    The best thing about Christie’s approach is its comprehensiveness. He’s not just saying “cut spending” — though of course, he is saying that, in all areas of the state’s budget. He also recognizes that state and local spending are interrelated issues, so he’s proposed a property tax cap to make sure that state spending cuts don’t just drive up local property taxes. And he’s proposing institutional reforms that will enable localities to cope with aid cuts by reducing spending.

  23. Some Easter thoughts from the Easter Bunny:

    Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

    Everyone needs a friend who is all ears.

    There’s no such thing as too much candy.

    All work and no play can make you a basket case.

    A cute tail attracts a lot of attention.

    Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day.

    Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.

    Some body parts should be floppy.

    Keep your paws off of other people’s jelly beans.

    Good things come in small, sugar coated packages.

    The grass is always greener in someone else’s basket.

    To show your true colors, you have to come out of the shell.

    The best things in life are still sweet and gooey.

    May the joy of the season fill your heart.

    Happy Easter!

  24. Taylor, Karel’s baskets can be filled with May flowers. I remember the May Festival in our hometown in honor of the Blessed Mother. Girls dressed in white dresses offering flowers for 4 Sundays in May.

  25. Good morning all from a wet CT. Spent the evening pumping water out of the basement with more coming in. Fortunately, I don’t keep anything of value ion the basement!! But, we did need to move the place where the cats sleep.

    This caught my eye this morning. Even Bush didn’t do this. Have a good day all!

    Obama to Open Offshore Areas to Oil Drilling for First Time

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday.

    • KEY, that’s the pits! Sorry about all the water in your basement. It brings back memories of our basement flooding–twice. Severe thunder storms, power outage for hours, sump pump stopped pumping. What a huge mess. After the 2nd time, Robin got a battery back-up for the sump pump. And there’s been no flooding in the basement since. Not because of the back-up, but because the power hasn’t gone out for a long period of time during a severe storm.

      P.S. I’m for offshore drilling. I’m also for job creation, etc.

  26. Good Morning, Villagers…puddle jumpin’ again today, with highs in the mid 50’s…they’ve had a blizzard in the Sierras which is good for our water index…let it snow!!

    CT Key…sorry to hear about water in your basement, sounds like your “neck of the woods” is getting drenched…I hope it dries up soon.

    That drilling is going to be controversial…just wait til the environmental groups get mobilized. What happened to jobs being the number one priority? Drilling won’t create jobs for years and years!! What a mess. I think this is just another smoke screen…Obama is doing everything and anything he can think of to get the topic of health care off Americans minds…his numbers are still taking a huge hit over that fiasco. He’s just mixing it up so people who disagree don’t know where to disagree first…spreading out his opponents and frustrating them til they cry “uncle”. Well, it hasn’t worked so far…I’m not going to forget or take my eye off what he’s doing!!

    I think I found our Easter Baskets…they’re up high in the terrace closet, so I have to wait til my son can get up there to retrieve the box…he was in school til late last night. Those baskets have been our Easter baskets for years…the Easter Bunny fills the same ones year after year…tradition. There’s a yellow plastic one that my son used to put on his head when he was really young…then he got it stuck on his head…I had a dickens of a time getting it off…it makes me smile and laugh every time I see that basket!!

    Hope everyone in the East is drying out for Easter weekend…enjoy the day…

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