Parol is a traditional Filipino Christmas decoration, a five point star-shaped Christmas lantern. Originally made of thin bamboo frames and covered with colored cellophane or with rice paper also known as Japanese paper or papel de Japon. It has two tails that serve as the rays of the star.
Parol reminds the Filipino Christians of the star of Bethlehem that guided the Three Wise Men on their way in search of Baby Jesus.
Parol as Christmas Street Decorations
During Christmas season, parols are seen everywhere. As early as November, parols are hang on windows or door of every Filipino homes, offices, schools, shopping malls and even streets are adorned with these multi-colored lanterns. You will even find mini parols hanging on buses and jeepneys and cars. Today, parol become more colorful because of the twinkling bulbs in dazzling pattern that help illuminates each parol.
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 come 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 children are taught how to make parol and they usually have a lantern parade to showcase their work.
Parol made from capiz shells
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, a lot of them are sold in the market from the month of October. Parol vendors can be found everywhere, you will see them on the side walks, bus stops, 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 shells and are intricately designed, these last long and can be used every year. There are also Parol that are sold online.
Giant Lantern Festival - San Fernando, Pampanga Philippines
The most spectacular exihibition and parade of Parol is held every year in San Fernando Pampanga, famous for the most unique star lanterns in shapes, colors and sizes made from all kinds of material.
The town becomes the center of Christmas activities, every year spectators get to marvel the amazing lights of the giant lanterns. These lanterns were made by the skillful parol makers from Pampanga.
The Giant Lantern Festival of San Fernando is the event that the province of Pampanga is most known for. No doubt that is the reason why San Fernando, Pampanga has been dubbed as the Christmas Capital of the Philippines.
The parol uplifts the spirit, instills a sense of pride and hope, it not only brightens Filipino Christmas, but it serves as an inspiration for Filipino ingenuity.
Parol can brighten any place . . .
Photo Credits: Thanks to maryan54 from Webshots.
How to make a Parol Tutorial
- How to Make a Parol
Market Manila's simple and easy steps on how to make a parol, with pictures.
- Manila's Giant Lantern
These lanterns were displayed at Luneta park (2007)
More articles about Christmas in the Philippines
- Christmas Caroling in the Philippines
Caroling is a part of the Filipino Christmas tradition. Once the Dawn Mass known as "Misa de Gallo" or "Simbang Gabi " starts, carolers will be on their feet singing Christmas carols from house to house.
- Monito Monita - Exchange Gifts
Christmas is the season of gift giving. In keeping with the tradition of giving, Filipinos have their own version of exchanging gifts or Kris Kringle, it is called "Monito Monita". This is usually done among schoolmates, workmates or among family and friends.
The Filipino Parol at Sydney Christmas Parade
Philippine Christmas Lantern (Parol) Kumukutikutitap
R3J on February 12, 2014:
Can you pls. show how to make parols with straw
hashee on December 03, 2013:
merry christmas everybody..... may GOD bless us all :)
Belle Velasquez on December 23, 2012:
Nobody beats our 'Parol' in the whole world...!
megan on December 10, 2012:
the best information i could get for my project about how we spend Christmas in the Philippines. TWO BIG THUMBS UP!
scarletjonason on December 05, 2012:
i hope it helps for my competition too........
razzel may on November 26, 2012:
thaks for help my project
STEVEN on November 15, 2012:
I enjoy watching colorful parols...MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!
kathniel on November 12, 2012:
im happy this christmas
cali lexi on November 03, 2012:
i wish you could post a procedure of making parol out of chip wrappers
yael on December 08, 2011:
ang ganda ganda lalo na yung guitar
Samantha on November 30, 2011:
Hey. Nice tutorials u got there. :))
person on November 29, 2011:
thanks for helping me on my project! i only wish there was more then one craft. thx again!!!! from person
Stacy on November 24, 2011:
I agree with you Sam these lanterns are cool.And have a Merry Christmas to all
Sam on November 24, 2011:
Cool lanterns.Happy early christmas
airah03 on November 15, 2011:
tnx kasi may idea na ko ..............
jovelyn oponda on November 15, 2011:
i love these parol ngayon alam ko na ang paggawa ng pa
sophia on November 13, 2011:
make your life alive
aresio balibag on November 10, 2011:
wow!! 8's GREAT............
aprilrose on November 08, 2011:
nice love it....
lolalhyn on November 06, 2011:
i love this!!! i juz made a parol made out of straw for my demonstration project for my communication class... awesome!!! i'm hoping to amaze my classmates n professor for wat pinoy talent hav and super creative!!! hehe;)!
captfaw on November 04, 2011:
Merry xmas everyone
Kristine on October 10, 2011:
fermin rabano on October 04, 2011:
we are selling parol lantern for indoor & outdoor decor, for bulk order pls. call our landline 881-44-91, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
alex on September 26, 2011:
hello.. do you know how to make parol made of straw?
pat on September 26, 2011: