The Sicilian Tradition of Palm Weaving
Pope Francis on Palm Sunday in Rome
The custom of blessing “palm” branches has its origin in the gospel account of the triumphant entry of Christ Jesus into the city of Jerusalem amid the palm waving Hebrews. Blessed “palms” are also a Christian symbol of victory and date back to the year 700 A.D.
The palm has become associated with the blessing of the home. Their religious significance is one of hope and belief in life after death. When offered as gifts, they symbolize love and friendship through Christ.
The beautiful Palm Sunday Service is called “La Domenica Delle Palme” and is held with great excitement and processions in Sicily. The people who weave the palms are called “parmarù” in the Sicilian language.
Gene Fedeli, a native of Rockford, Illinois has been involved with the Italian Community of Rockford through the Culture and Education Committee which he and his wife chair. I first learned the art of palm weaving at an Italian Folk Art Conference on the east coast. Returning to Rockford with the desire to continue his learning I attended workshops with European nuns and older European nationalities that had mastered the art of palm weaving
I have presented many workshops throughout the Rockford Diocese in the last 25 years at places such as: Lady of Good Council Parish, Aurora Illinois , St. Peter Cathedral of Rockford Illinois, Holy Family of Rockford,Illinois St. Joseph of Harvard,Illinois St. Florian Chicago,Illinois Felician Sister Mother House in Chicago,Illinois and The Italian Cultural Center in Stone Park, Illinois. I have moved to Michigan this past year so I am know presenting workshops in the area around Detroit Michigan.
Above is a poster with some weavings that I’ve learned in past years.
Below is a Photo Gallery of weavings showing the many ways the woven palms can be used for home, church and for loved ones at the cemetery.
Please click on pictures in the gallery to enlarge for more detail.