PAROL: SMALL CRAFT, BIG IMPACT
“Kumukutikutitap” meaning “sparkling” in English is the vibe that a Filipino Christmas gives through our flickering parols. You see parols on streets, public parks, mall interiors, or even in residential houses. The parol is a significant symbol of Paskong Pinoy, but have you ever wondered how it started?
During the Spanish colonization in the Philippines, they used the parol as lanterns or sources of light especially during religious processions leading to Misa de Gallo (dawn masses) before. Throughout the years, the materials used in crafting parols evolved from Japanese paper to capiz shells. As modernization took place, innovation after innovation was introduced giving us the satisfaction and appeal we are experiencing now through various displays and events.
Pampanga, the Christmas Capital of the Philippines, is the home of different styles and shapes of the parol. In December, they celebrate the Giant Parol Festival where people, especially tourists, can enjoy enormous parols lighting up the sky. This year, it was mostly held online through Facebook live. People were also given limited access with safety measures to visit the giant lanterns exhibition at Robinsons Starmill, Pampanga. Furthermore, the University of the Philippines continues the spirit of the lantern parade as a commemoration of each year’s relevant meaning of Christmas. Although this year, the school cancelled the competition among the colleges but the school prepared a simple program and pre-recorded performances that highlights the totality of the year 2020 and what it calls for us. Moreover, the University of Santo Thomas also includes the parol as one of the main designs in their annual Paskuhan which this year was held with pre-recorded performances and live broadcasts through their Facebook page.
Can a simple craft affect our views and feelings? To know whether the parol display in Christmas is still relevant, some members of the INK team have conducted a random sampling survey with 34 respondents to understand how different people perceive the parol. The questions were mostly about how they feel about the parol.
Majority answered they have an existing parol display in their house or neighborhood while the other quarter has no parol display near their place. We can see that the parol is still a Christmas symbol. Although we can also say that it is gradually declining in relevance. Maybe they forgot to hang it up or opted to go with other Christmas decorations
Moving on, the majority feel excited whenever they see parol displays along the way. These people’s hearts dance whenever they see sparkling lights from fancy and creative parols lighting up the way. On the other hand, few answered they don’t feel excited about the parol displays.
Many answered that they hadn’t attended any lantern festival; however, half of them are looking forward to attending one in the future. Those who have attended a lantern festival expressed that they felt amazed because it was magical. They felt happy and content from the visual experience that they truly felt the spirit of Christmas but they worried about the waste management after these events.
Overall, the parol holds the significance of being and giving light to others. With that, we are hoping we can be each other’s light in these trying times of pandemic and natural calamities. Maligayang Pasko at Magbigay Liwanag!
Here’s the challenge! Be the light and create your own parol in your Instagram stories. Please tag us at @InkEnderun, so we can see your luminous creativity! Have fun and Happy Holidays!