Day 324/365: Philippines Parol

Day 324/365: Philippines Parol

November 21, 2011

 

As early as September every year, the Christmas season starts in the Philippines. We call it the “ber” months where the ultimate December moment of Christmas is what everyone is waiting for. The most common Christmas ornaments you can see in the only Christian country in Asia- The Philippines is the “parol”

According to Wikipedia, It is an ornamental, star-shaped Christmas lantern common in the Philippines. It is traditionally made out of bamboo and paper and comes in various sizes and shapes, but generally the basic “star” pattern remains dominant. The design of the paról evokes the Star of Bethlehem that guided the Three Kings to the manger. It also symbolizes the victory of light over darkness and the Filipinos’ hope and goodwill during the Christmas season.

It has become an iconic symbol of the Filipino Christmas and is as important to Filipinos as the Christmas Tree is to Western cultures. Its annual debut on houses and streets is usually happens in September along with other Christmas symbols, signalling the coming of the season. The paról also retains its original association with the Simbang Gabi ritual, a series of dawn masses that lasts for nine days. These lanterns remain until January, traditionally removed after Epiphany, to honour the Three Kings and their visit to the child Jesus.

Many communities, such as villages, schools, and groups hold competitions to see who can make the best paról. One such event is the annual Giant Lantern Festival in Pampanga, which attracts various craftsmen from all over the archipelago. The competition revolves around the illumination and performances of giant paróls that can reach up to 40 feet  in breadth. These giant lanterns are made to “dance” to the accompaniment of a brass band. In Greater Manila Area, the Parol Parade happens in University of the Philippines Quezon City campus wherein each colleges and departments shows their craftsmanship in creating different types of Christmas Parols.

To create your own parol. Visit this site-http://www.myparol.com/myparol/howto.html