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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Parol - Christmas Lantern

Parol, a five point star-shaped Christmas lantern, is a traditional Filipino Christmas decoration. Originally it is made of thin bamboo frames and covered with coloured cellophane or Japanese paper (papel de Japon). It has two tails that serve as the rays of the star. Parol represents the star of Bethlehem that guided the Three Wise Men on their way in search for Infant Jesus.

Homes, offices, schools, shopping malls and even streets are adorned with multi-coloured parol as early as November. You will even find mini parols hanging on buses, tricycles and jeepneys. Parol can be made out of new and recycled materials such as plastic glasses and bottles, tin cans, candy wrappers, cardboard boxes, shells, abaca fibre and comes in different shapes and sizes.

Parol is not only a Christmas symbol; it is a symbol of hope for many parol makers. Parol making has been a source of income for hundreds of Filipinos. They make parol as early as June and sold in markets from October.

Parol vendors can be found everywhere; you will see them peddling on the side-walks, bus and jeepney stops or even along the highway.

Parol has become the most recognisable Christmas ornament among Filipinos not only in the Philippines but also  in other countries. Parols made of capiz or shells are exported overseas. They are intricately designed, last long and when lighted, emits beautiful lights.

The most spectacular exhibition and parade of Parol is held annually in San Fernando, Pampanga. Spectators get to marvel the amazing lights of the giant lanterns crafted by the local parol makers.   

Parol uplifts one’s spirit, instilling a sense of pride and hope. It brightens Filipino Christmas and celebrates the Filipino-inspired ingenuity.



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