Sandigang Kaalaman: PAROL: Gabay, Pagbubukas at Tagumpay (12.18.22)

PAROL: Guidance, Opening and Success

One of the most anticipated seasons in the Philippines is the holiday season. There is a lot to see – Christmas tunes, street children playing music and “mangangalolin”, decorating the house, arranging the Christmas Tree, Simbang Gabi, Aguinaldo, gifts and much more. After all, December does not signal the beginning of the holiday season. It's only September and everyone is already busy with preparations. And one of the features in the preparation of the holiday season is the lantern. We can see different sizes, designs and shapes. Colorful and full of light that symbolizes not only the light of every home but the star that guided the wise men to the manger – the birth of our Savior. But, where exactly did it start?

The lantern was originally made by the artisan Francisco Estanislao in 1908. It comes from the Spanish word "farol" or "lantern" in English. It is the influence of the Spaniards. It is star-shaped that is usually hung in homes, roads or in various buildings. It is made with bamboo, Japanese paper and candles.

If we go back in history, it was used as a guide for people to the church to attend the nine days of Simbang Gabi. After each mass, each hand lantern is hung outside the home. This is also related to the Mexican culture of "luminaria" or "clay pot lantern" whenever El Posada is celebrated, where Joseph and Mary's journey to the inn is dramatized. Each lantern symbolizes that every home is open to welcome the holy family and Jesus at his birth.
With the passage of time, each lantern has many designs and faces. Whether simple or elaborate, it symbolizes hope and faith for Filipinos. This is our guide to the true light of our lives, none other than Jesus who was born in a manger. It also represents the victory of the light of Jesus against the darkness of sin that blesses the holiday season.

A lantern is not just a decoration. But a significant symbol of the holiday season - a guide for us towards the birth of Jesus. An opening of our home upon his arrival. A victory of God against the darkness of our lives. Let's hang the lantern in every home.

Catechism from Rev. Fr. Rex Andrian E. Polintan


- Giant lanterns light up Philippine Christmas, Marielle Lucenio, Philippines, December 16, 2019
- “Parol: A symbol of Filipino Christmas Spirit” ni Imelda Yumul Dec. 15, 2013
- “The Parol: A Filipino Catholic Tradition and Vocation”, Marc Vargas, 2016


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