Maligayang Pasko….. Christmas is huge in the Philippines, and the paról has become an iconic symbol of the Filipino Christmas. It’s as important to Filipinos as the Christmas tree is to western cultures.
The decorations start appearing in September, and the parol is at the centre. Stalls making and selling them set up – you can find any size, any colour, and many different types.
Traditionally, paróls have a star-shaped framework made of bamboo sticks which are then covered by coloured pieces of either Japanese paper or crêpe paper. The most common form is a five-pointed star with two decorative “tails”.
Nowadays, the materials range from plastic, shells, glass, beads, foil, feathers, hemp, leaves, seeds, soft drink straws, wood and even metal. They usually come in various sizes, from small, tinsel and foil lanterns to gigantic ones that are electrically lit at night, and may have one, three or more tails aside from the usual two. Some have a surrounding “halo”.
In December 2019, we ran a paról workshop at the Welcome Centre. We made traditional versions from card and tissue paper, complicated paper folds, and learned how to recycle bottles into cool decorations.