Paskong Pinoy is considered as the world’s longest run- ning Christmas celebration that usually begins as early as the’-ber’ (September, October, and so on) month arrives. Filipinos from all over the archipelago spend this entire season with enormously rich yuletide traditions of merry- making as observed up to the present day.
Parols are the traditional Christmas lanterns in the Philippines that are hung outside houses as decoration. Made in the shape of a star with five or more points, they symbolize the Star of Bethlehem. The traditional materials for making parols are mostly simple--bamboo sticks, Japanese rice paper, and crepe paper. In modern times, plastic, heavier paper, cellophane and capiz are also used. The traditional candle or oil lantern inside has been replaced by electric lights. The city of San Fernando is known for making the grandest and largest capiz parols, with flashing and changing lights in varied colors. They parade their 20-ft. parols on truck beds.
Origin The parol-making tradition clearly began after the Christianization of the Philippines. The word parol comes from farol, which is Spanish for lantern (an allusion to the famed lighthouse of Pharos). World Book’s Christmas in the Philippines suggests that the parol originated from the Mexican piñata, which like the parol is decorated with crepe paper. The piñata, originally from Italy, was brought to Spain, and from there to Mexico and finally to the Philippines, when the Spaniards brought Christianity to the country and galleon trade with Mexico began...
History The word Pasko is derived from the Spanish Pascua de Natividad, which literally means ‘Nativity of Easter’. As early as the 14th century, historical records dated that even before Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philip- pines in 1521, an Italian Franciscan friar named Odoric de Perdenon and his colleagues have already landed on the shoreline of the Pangasinan (formerly called “Thalma- sin”). Their arrival marked the country’s first Christmas Mass as de Perdenone celebrated a Natale Mass with a group of native folks on the 25th of December. It was only later in 1565, during Miguel Lopez de Legaspi’s rule, when the first official celebration of the Feast of the Nativity happened.
However, even before the Spanish colonizers came in the country, the natives have long been practicing thanksgiving rituals in the early mornings before working in the fields. Thus, this practice also reflects the roots of Filipinos’ Christmas traditions at present...