Yuletide Trivia: Christmas Parol

Christmas Parol is a traditional 5 point shape Filipino Christmas lantern or decoration.  It has made originally with thin bamboo or other sticks covered with different colored cellophanes or (rice paper) or papel de Japon (Japanese Paper). It has two tails that serves as the rays of the stars.  We, Filipino Christians, are reminding us about our parol symbolizes the star of Bethlehem that was guided by the Magi on their way to seek the child Jesus (Matthew 2:1ff.).

Parol is displayed everywhere.  The government and non-government organizations are installing and displaying parols on the lampposts on the major thoroughfares, trees, hospitals, churches, schools, offices, and more every early of the month of November.

According to the website http://hubpages.com/hub/Parol—Filipino-Christmas-Lantern-, Filipinos used new and recycled materials to make parols, like plastic glasses, candy wrappers, soft drink straws, recycled papers and shells. The present day parol comes in different shapes and sizes: it doesn’t have to be star- shaped, it can be round, rectangular or even square, like a diorama with the Nativity on it. Parol represents the Filipino innovation, creativity and it is the greatest expression of Christmas spirit. Parol making is a traditional folk craft.  School or out of school children are taught how to make parol and they usually have a lantern parade to showcase their work.

Parol making is not only a Christmas symbol, it is a symbol of hope for lots of Parol makers. Parol making business is a source of income for lots of Filipinos. They make parol as early as June or the middle of the year, a lot of them are sold in the market in the month October. Parol vendors can be found everywhere, you will see them on the side walks, bus or jeepney stops or even along the highway.

Parol has become the most recognizable Christmas ornament for Filipinos not just in the Philippines, but in any country where there is a Filipino community. Parol are sold overseas, these are usually made from capiz or native shells and are intricately designed, these last long and can be used every year.


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