Palm fronds from Elche, location of the biggest palm grove in Europe, are
covered from sunlight to whiten them and then dried and braided into
elaborate shapes. The braiding is done by nuns. On Palm Sunday, they are
blessed by priests wearing red vestments to symbolise the blood shed on
the Cross, and sprinkled with Holy Water.
Every year, the palms from the preceding year are burned to provide the
ashes to sprinkle on the heads of penitents on Ash Wednesday.
Parishioners carry their fronds home where they are placed over the door
or on balconies to prevent the entry of evil spirits. Similarly, the fronds
from the previous year are burned and the smoke allowed to permeate the house
with its protective powers.
In some parishes, the priest goes from house to house blessing the salt and
the water. Traditionally, he was paid in eggs (their eating being proscribed
during Lent). Once blessed the water is sprinkled around doors and windows to
keep away evil spirits.
In Palma there is a Mass in the cathedral attended by a large number of the clergy
from all over the Island and the Bishop of Mallorca blesses the new sacramental oils,
from Bunyola, for the coming year.
Carnival and Lenten Customs
Funeral of the Sardine