Apr 23, 2012 - Feature    No Comments

How the Giant Parol in Pampanga Tradition Started

It is said that Filipinos have their own unique way of celebrating Christmas.

As early as November, it can be observed that every Filipino home is filled with Christmas decorations. Filipino families will start putting up their Christmas tree in the living room together with other ornaments. Nonetheless, every Filipino home will never be complete without the traditional “parol”.

Giant lantern

Giant parol—Photo courtesy of agirlintheworld on Flickr

Basically, Parol is a Christmas decoration shaped like a star. The parol represents the star that said to be shining brightly during the birth of Jesus. Traditionally, parol is made from thin flexible bamboo. These bamboo sticks will then be tied together in order to form a star. After doing so, it will then be covered with colored paper to make it more attractive. Because of its religious implications as well as the innate religiousness of Filipinos, parol became a permanent part of Filipino Christmas celebration.

This simple tradition of having parol during Christmas has greatly evolved throughout time. Nowadays, people can see parols made from various materials such as capiz shells, stained glass and the like. On the other hand, there are also parols that come with flashing lights and sounds. Because of its impact and influence, a certain festival was created that highlighted the giant parol in Pampanga.

giant parol

Colorful lantern—Photo courtesy of agirlintheworld on Flickr

How the tradition came to be

Since before, the people of Pampanga are known because of their craftsmanship. This is observed with the different ingenious parol designs they create over the years. These unique parols made in Pampanga became a municipality product that is being sold to tourists and even locals. With this, their talents are being acknowledged with the creation and launching of a festival that showcases giant parol in Pampanga. And this came to be the Giant Lantern Festival of San Fernando that we know of today.

Things tourists can expect

When we speak about giant parol in Pampanga, people can expect simply the best. Tourists’ eyes will be feasting on parades of great and unique hand crafted giant parol. In general, giant parol in Pampanga varies from sizes, color, material, effect and creativity. There are people who are able to create work of arts through combining different media in a single giant parol. Aside from this, the Giant Lantern Festival of San Fernando that features the giant parol in Pampanga is a competition to begin with. Because of this, spectators of the festival can expect to witness different giant parols made from various localities of Pampanga such as San Juan, San Nicolas, San Felipe, Santa Lucia and a lot more.

Innovations yet to be seen in the future

The parade and festival of giant parol in Pampanga is an annual event being anticipated by both locals and tourists. This is considered as a tourist attraction that reflects the tradition and value Filipinos place on Christmas. With the continuing competition, each locality is coming up with new and innovative ideas and parol designs that can be presented in the festival. By saying this, tourists can anticipate more as years pass by. Indeed, the giant parol in Pampanga has gone a long way since its humble beginning. But then, it continues to develop and progress into a growing art and tradition that other cultures and nationalities can find amusing and unique.

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