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Parol, The Philippine Christmas Lantern

The parol or Christmas lantern is a traditional decoration of a Filipino house during the holidays.

The word parol or Christmas lantern is derived from the Spanish farol which means street lamp or lantern. It is a traditional Christmas decoration in the Philippines next only to the Christmas tree in terms of popularity. The usually five-pointed star lantern symbolizes the star in the Biblical account that guided the three magi to Bethlehem to pay homage to infant Jesus. Lanterns are usually sold by mid November, and the increase of demand and sales start by the beginning of December.                                  Image via Wikipedia                                   

The lanterns come in variety of sizes and colors. Some have rings around them, others do not. The frame of the “star’ is made from thin bamboo strips. It is covered or wrapped in a colored transparent crepe paper. The ring is made of a larger bamboo strip that is bent into a circle. The ring may be totally round or an incomplete circle. It maybe wrapped in old newspapers or any paper to make the surface round and thicker. It is then coiled with cut rice papers with loops pattern to cover entire length of the ring. Tassels of thin strip of papers are hung at the point connecting the bottom tips of the “star” and the ring. The tassels or tails of the “star” signify its “ray”. Usually, the upper half of the length of the tassels are swathed with a decoratively cut paper. There are lanterns that have only one tail when they have a ring with full circle. Blinking lights are usually placed on the surface of the “star” or around its ring. Although the parol is literally a lantern, great numbers are made with no lights. Christmas lanterns are not displayed in the house but outdoors. They are usually hung from the eaves.

Image via Wikipedia

Making Christmas lantern is a folk craft in the Philippines. Some people make it as seasonal means of livelihood in the months of November and December. Prisoners of Misamis Oriental jail are allowed by the provincial authorities to make lantern to enable them to earn income for their families during the Christmas season.

Star-shaped lanterns come in variety of prices and designs from the intricately made to the simplest. Adults usually design and make them, but children are also capable of doing them. In the Philippines especially in the rural areas it is a common practice to hold a parol or Christmas lantern making contest in public halls or grounds and in the elementary school campuses just before Christmas break.

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User Comments
  1. Christine Ramsay

    On December 5, 2010 at 4:18 am

    They are very beautiful and colourful. An interesting post.


  2. Suni51

    On December 5, 2010 at 4:21 am

    Nice share, thanks for the same.

  3. sivasankar412

    On December 5, 2010 at 4:40 am

    very nice

  4. Rhodora Bande

    On December 5, 2010 at 4:40 am

    This is a nice tribute to a Christmas accessory.

  5. Rhodora Bande

    On December 5, 2010 at 4:46 am

    I mean we just hang those lanterns without truly understanding its essence. We tend to forget because we are very much focused on the commercial side of Christmas. This is a good series you are working on. Keep them coming! :-)

  6. Sail338

    On December 5, 2010 at 5:00 am

    Great Post

  7. clandestinef

    On December 5, 2010 at 5:22 am

    Great work… Excited to read more from you soon…:)

  8. Saurav Banerjee

    On December 5, 2010 at 5:31 am

    The information is nice. The pictures are breathtaking.

  9. Neville 1963

    On December 5, 2010 at 11:29 am

    I can only add to what others have said, these are beautiful christmas decorations.

  10. mubarti

    On December 5, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Good post Lapasan..this article heats up this christmas…

  11. dino renaldo

    On December 5, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    nice share thanks

  12. crisdiwata

    On December 5, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    Thanks for sharing this lovely piece.

  13. Eunice Tan

    On December 5, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Very pretty. Christmas is always beautiful.

  14. Michael R

    On December 6, 2010 at 5:16 am

    It’s great to hear about different christmas traditions around the world. Thanks for the post.

  15. ladym33

    On December 6, 2010 at 11:54 am

    They look very lovely. Thank you for sharing this tradition.

  16. margaridab

    On December 6, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Very beautiful! I had seen some being sold here in France but I didn\’t know it was a Philippine Christmas tradition craft.

  17. LCM Linda

    On December 7, 2010 at 3:37 am

    This lantern is new to me. So beautiful. It will be nice to have one in the Christmas.

  18. Yovita Siswati

    On December 7, 2010 at 4:21 am

    The lanterns are beautiful!

  19. scheng1

    On December 7, 2010 at 10:04 am

    These are really beautiful. Envy those who can make these lanterns.

  20. webseowriters

    On December 7, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    A nice share, thanks for sharing

  21. lyan08

    On December 8, 2010 at 5:34 am

    nice share.

  22. Sail338

    On December 10, 2010 at 6:36 am

    Nice Poost

  23. Freethinking

    On December 10, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    I have never seen these here in the United States. They’re beautiful and again, I learned something new about the world today. Thank you.

  24. AJ Kikay

    On December 17, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Very interesting! Merry Christmas to you all!

  25. anndavey650

    On December 27, 2010 at 6:10 am

    Gosh they are gorgeous – I see the Phillipines celebrates in style!

  26. Geny

    On December 28, 2010 at 2:11 am

    Thanks for sharing

  27. elee

    On September 13, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    :) writing is very good and beneficial to share :)

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