Parol (The Filipino Christmas Lantern)
This is taken from a churchyard wherein the Parol is planted in the soil through a stick instead of hanging it. The Parol in this photo is a bit modern. It has a built-in bulb that illuminates the star-shaped figure.
Christmas in the Philippines would not be complete without the traditional Filipino Lantern or “Parol”. “Parol” for Filipinos symbolizes the star that guided the Three Wise Men in search of Baby Jesus.
In the early days, Parol is traditionally made together by family members (not bought). It is usually made from a thin bamboo frames created into star shape, then covered with Japanese Paper or “Papel de Japon”. Two tails is also added that symbolizes the rays of the star. Sometimes the Parol is being made from recycled materials such as foils from cigarette packs or chocolate wrappers, used plastic materials, soft drinks straws, disposable plastic cups and the likes. They are also made in different shapes but the star-shaped Parol has always been the popular one. .
In the modern times Parol making has evolved and there are different materials being used. A ready-made Parol became a common merchandise during the Christmas season, thus Filipinos just buy them instead of making them at home. You can find all kinds of Parol anywhere made from low cost materials to the more expensive ones like Capiz. Parol that are made from Capiz are usually being exported and the Philippines is well known for this.
During Christmas season in the Philippines, different kinds and sizes of multi-colored Parol can be seen everywhere. From ordinary household, to business establishments, malls, buildings and even in passenger jeeps. You can find streets and avenues ornate with a long stretch of Parol.
Truly, Parol represents the Filipinos passion for the Christmas tradition. It has been the most recognizable Christmas decoration for Filipinos. My brother who lives in Canada once told me that, when you see that there’s a hanging Parol in a house in Canada, there is no doubt that a Filipino is living in that house.