(pronounced: paról with a rolling "r") is a Filipino
with vividly colored streamer
s hung inside and out. The word parol
comes from the Spanish
word for lantern, farol
. The roots of the parol are in the Mexican piñata
. The piñata originated in Italy
, came to Spain
in the 1300s, spread to Mexico
, and finally came to the Philippines
when Spaniards brought Christianity
to the islands.
The parol was originally used to light the way to church to attend Misa de Gallo, or "Mass of the Rooster", held on December 16th, the official start of the Christmas season. The parol represents the star of Bethlehem and showcases ingenuity and hope for peace.
Parols are handmade from loca] materials like: capiz (nacre), bamboo sticks, crepe paper, colored rice paper, parts of mussel shells and coconut trees, and candles. They usually feature a tassel, sometimes one at each point. Recently, electric candles light the lanterns, replacing wax candles originally used in earlier centuries.
All through the Christmas season, the lantern can be found hanging outside doors and windows of homes and along the streets of cities and small provincial towns. One of the most spectacular sights can be seen in the city of San Fernando where 20-foot tall paro]s with kaleidescopic blinking lights are paraded through the streets on truckbeds.