The Silent and Glittering Legend of Filipino Christmas Lanterns


Christmas is just around the corner which only means to say that the Filipinos are very much eager and thrilled to decorate their homes with the finest Yuletide ornaments.  This significantly reflect that Christmas in the Philippines is one of the longest and festive occasions in the world. Culturally, the conventional and yet astonishing Christmas tradition of this country is called “The Parol Making” centered in the province of Pampanga.  In this faraway land of Central Luzon, there are many colorful and gigantic parols that continue to mesmerize the discriminating and aesthetic creativities of the Filipinos across the country.

Paskong Pinoy - Parol (Photo courtesy: Andoy Angeles @andoy_angeles on Instagram)


Based from documented sources, a shining decor such as these above are original and indigenous craft of the Philippines. Most frequently, it is made out of these easy to find materials like bamboos and papers of assorted colors. In addition, Filipino-made Christmas lanterns are of different shapes and sizes. But there is a single common denominator among all these Filipino-made Christmas lanterns.  These impressive Christmas lanterns have cute stars which tend to symbolize the diverse and inspiring characterizations of the Filipino personality and spirit.

Paskong Pinoy - Parol (Photo courtesy: @macnik21 on Instagram)


Design wise, the expressive and Filipino-made Christmas lanterns and its intricate stars have symbolized the one and only Heavenly Star which illustriously guided the three kings on their way to Bethlehem. More importantly, the Filipino-made parol victoriously signifies the triumphant victory of man over the dark and evil forces that spiritually malign the strong relationship between God and man.  Every Christmas Season each one of us look forward to a brighter future ahead; to start a new lease of life that will productively make the best of both worlds no matter what it takes for the sake of our loved ones and country. The succeeding paragraphs of this article will let you know more about the brief but significant overview of this well-loved Filipino Christmas ornament of all-time.

Historically, a Filipino-made parol came from the Spanish confabulation “farol” which means lantern. Patterns wise, it has beautifully evolved from a five-edged star made of paper which was first made by a famous artist by the name of Francisco Estanislao. This exceptional masterpiece of his was initially introduced to the public in 1928.  In retrospect, the first Filipino- made parol was composed of several bamboo strips, pieces of Japanese paper and a remarkable light source from a candle known as kalburo. Since then, this kind of a Filipino-made Christmas lantern was eventually used by those hardworking folks in the barrio to illuminate their paths during the nine-day Misa de Gallo. It was due to the fact that there was no electric facility in those far-flung areas during those early years.  

Paskong Pinoy - Parol (Photo courtesy: Angelie Cristy Somo @anj112291 on Instagram)


Christmas Lanterns: The Historical Evolution

At present, these terrific Christmas lanterns in the Philippines are made of exquisite materials such as glasses, shells, plastics, beads, feathers, foils, metals and wood.  With a little more touch of innovation, there are some lanterns that are made from other techie components to make them more world-class and artistically promising through the years. Apart from these relevant modifications, the eye-catching tails of these bright and versatile Yuletide trimmings have also predominantly changed in the latter course of time. Prior to these changes, the traditional tails of a Christmas lantern are usually two. But, there are some modern Filipino parol makers who have decided to deviate from these architectural norms by making them more sophisticated than the conventional. To be precise enough, there are other parol prototypes which have halos and their star points range from four to 10, respectively.

Paskong Pinoy - Parol (Photo courtesy: Marjan Patrick @marjanpatrick on Instagram)


Generally, its magnificent and awesome stellate patterns of those inspiring Christmas lanterns in the Philippines are currently following those puzzling and more complex geometric shapes just like a bromeliad, sweet-scented rose and a sea creature which is scientifically  referred to as a sea urchin. Hence, there are other vibrant and colorful designs of those fantastic Christmas parols in the Philippines which can be any of the following: An angel, a Santa Claus, Christmas trees and those other lovable Christmas designs which have alluringly emanated from the other side of the globe.

Amazingly, there are those ultra-magnetic Christmas lanterns in the Philippines from the friendly Kapampangans who had invented “programmable Christmas parols” so as to produce a more modern type of Christmas lanterns in the Philippines which are remarkably known as lanterns with “flexi lights”.

Symbolic Usage

Christmas lanterns in the Philippines are traditionally dubbed as the legendary symbols of a genuine Filipino Yuletide Season. Comparatively speaking, the Westerners have their own personalized Christmas trees which will excitingly indicate the advent of Christmas in just a couple of days. On the other hand, to highlight the paramount importance of a Filipino-made parol in the lives Filipinos, there are different parol making contests which are being held in different schools and communities every year. In fact, a specific example of this prestigious event is the “Giant Lantern Festival in Pampanga.”

Paskong Pinoy - Parol (Photo courtesy: @eidelacruz0402 on Instagram)


In that very moving competition, every participant must make sure that his or her parol must strongly sustain the music and harmony of the brass band without getting busted for about an hour. Thus, these lanterns are all programmable to make this glaring competition a survival of the fittest.

This Season of Love and Giving, let these Christmas lanterns in the Philippines humbly serve as faithful and lasting reminders that God will never allow His wonderful human creations to live a way of life that could possibly separate them from His infinite mercy and unconditional love; because the real essence of Christmas is His only son Jesus Christ who is the best gift that everyone shall faithfully receive in their hearts now and forever.

Published on : 20/03/2018 by Puerto Parrot

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