Parasol sizes vary significantly. The House of Rice parasol for instance, can open up to 35 inches. It is 25 inches from the parasol tip down to the handle. The Franco parasol is 32 inches in diameter. Generally, parasols range in size from 34 to 64 inches in diameter. There are also many types of parasol with various designs.
Parasols and Umbrellas
In general usage, parasol and umbrella are used in interchangeably. However, the term parasol actually refers to the device that protects you from the sun. The umbrella is the one that is used to shield you from rain.
This distinction is rarely made nowadays however. The parasol / umbrella are also known as gamp, sunshade, rainshade, bumbershoot and brolly.
While the umbrella and parasol sizes are similar, there are some features of parasols that distinguish it from the umbrella. For example, traditional parasols are not waterproof. Some of the anti-UV parasols are not water resistant.
Also, many parasols are frequently designed to be fixed to one point. They are often utilized with outdoor furniture like patio tables. By contrast, umbrellas are hand held. However, there are now some parasols that are hand held too.
While parasols are used mainly to protect people from rain and heat, there are other uses for it. For example, the umbrella was frequently used in religious ceremonies in the Byzantine Church.
Based on research, the parasol sizes used back then also varied. They were considered a part of the pontifical regalia. During procession, the parasol was put over the Host.
The umbrella is also a part of the papal regalia in the Catholic Church. It is known as the umbraculum or ombrellino. This is shown on the coat of arms of a sede vacante. The color is usually gold or red.
Traditionally, the ombrellino is conferred to specific places or individuals as a gesture of honor. It is also utilized as a symbol of a basilica.
In Rome, a bishop who has obtained the title will have the parasol carried above his head during processions. The umbraculum is also employed in the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. The umbrella is placed over the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist. This procession occurs indoors.
The umbraculum is taken off when the procession reaches the priest at the sanctuary entrance. The umbraculum is made of silk. Its color is either gold or white.
Use in Other Churches
The parasol is employed in liturgical ceremonies of many Oriental Orthodox Churches. The parasol is meant to convey respect to a person or object.
In the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the parasol is used in the Timkat ceremony. Here the parasol is placed over the Tabot, which symbolizes the Ark of the Covenant or its contents, the Ten Commandments. The parasols remain over the Tabots during the whole procession.
The parasol sizes used in religious ceremonies are not that different from the ones used by laymen. However, the material used for commercial parasols vary while for the religious rituals it is often silk.