If there’s one thing that shines as a one-of-a-kind holiday tradition, it’s the Filipino Christmas parol. With its star-shaped design that’s reminiscent of the Nativity star, its intricate tassels, and many colors, it’s a beacon of hope in a year that has been filled with challenges and triumphs.
Parols actually originated during the Spanish colonization. The word “parol” actually comes from the Spanish word for “lantern”, “farol”. Churchgoers would have a nine-day Christmas procession while holding candles and torches. The handmade paper lanterns were lit with candles and lamps and initially came in various shapes such as a fish or a cross. Through the years, it would eventually take on the star shape we know today.
Part of its Christmas activities, the Philippine Embassy in the United States forged a partnership with DC Public School (DCPS) Excel Academy, a school in Washington, D.C, under its Embassy Adoption Program (EAP). Under the partnership, sixth-graders were tasked to craft their own Christmas parol. The students had to attend online tutorials to learn how to make the parols, apart from talking about Philippine culture, history, food, and more. Discussions and games were also held to bolster interest.
To guide the children through the parol-making process, they watched an instructional video. Once the parols were finished, they talked about their experience making the parols, as well as their respective Christmas traditions. The best parols were given prizes by the Philippine embassy.
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