Filipino Christmas Lanterns

from the Spanish farol, meaning “lantern”

Parol (Filipino Christmas Lantern)
Parol (Filipino Christmas Lantern) – Buy online

Ang parol ay mahalagang bahagi ng Kapaskuhan.
The Filipino lantern is an important part of the Christmas season.

Ang pagsabit ng parol ay tradisyong minana mula sa mga Kastila.
Hanging a lantern is a tradition inherited from the Spaniards.

Noong unang panahon, ginagamit ang parol bilang pang-ilaw.
In the olden days, lanterns were used for illumination.

Despite the Spanish etymology (farol means a lantern or a box you put a candle or light inside), the word parol these days refers not only to the lantern decoration that we hang, but also to any Christmas decoration that’s reminiscent of the classic star-shaped lantern.

For example, schoolchildren in their arts & crafts class may make small parol made of paper and sticks or banana leaves/bark or other sturdy reeds or dry grasses — just plain that you wouldn’t think of lighting because they’d catch fire very quickly. They’d still be called parol.

The really fancy parol that you mount on the wall and that probably has a cord and plug that can draw electricity to power the lights are often decorated with delicate capiz shells. They’re expensive and can cost hundreds of dollars, depending on the intricacy of the design.

They are so pretty though, and people look forward to seeing the lights dancing in the night. San Fernando, the capital city of Pampanga province, has an annual Giant Parol Festival in December, where humongous-sized lanterns are showcased on the Saturday before Christmas Eve.