Saturday, November 20, 2010
Philippines is the only country in Asia where Christianity is predominant.
Christmas is the most celebrated holiday in the Philippines. Several business establishments and companies plays Christmas carols as early as September. We Filipinos started to decorate our homes with Christmas ornaments as early as October and Christmas decorations won't be complete with hanging a Parol outside the house.
What is a Parol? A parol is a star like Christmas lanterns used by Filipinos as ornament during Christmas season. They are traditionally made with bamboo and papel de hapon ( Japanese paper ).
The parol was created to symbolize the star that guided the 3 kings ( or should I say three astronomers) to Bethlehem were Jesus Christ was born.
It is said that the first parol was made by Filipino artisan, Francisco Estanislao of San Fernando, Pampanga in the late 1920's. The new generation parol were now made of plastic materials, capiz or seashells, stained glass, etc.. There are also new different shapes of parol aside from the traditional star shape such as flower, angels, bells and snowflakes.
San Fernando in Pampanga is known as the Christmas lantern capital of the Philippines. This where you can see colorful and skillfully made parols being sold almost all over the town . It is where the evolution of Parol started. San Fernando is also the place where you can see giant lanterns. A giant lantern festival is being held annually in San Fernando during December and is locally called " LIGLIGAN PAROL" . It is a competition of giant parols and every barrio in San Fernando participate. The height of the entries were as high as 20 feet and is made with plastic materials and was being illuminated by thousands of light bulbs.This is one of the amazing things in the Philippines that was included in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Nowadays, several companies, schools and organizations in the Philippines also hold christmas lantern making contest which requires participants to use indigenous materials such as bamboo, pet bottles, plastics, straws, bottle caps, cans, and other garbage materials.
Are you done dressing your homes with Christmas decorations?