December 20, 2009

Star of Bethlehem

The most popular Christmas decoration in the Philippines is the parol (from the Spanish farol which means "lantern"), the star-shaped lantern that represents the star of Bethlehem which led the three wise men to the stable where Jesus was born. The parol has actually become the iconic symbol of a Filipino Christmas. It can be as simple or as elaborate as one's budget will allow, from the traditional bamboo and tissue paper lanterns to the colorful and brightly-lit ones from the province of Pampanga. This one is somewhere in between. It is made of capiz shell (mother of pearl or nacre) but left in its natural, translucent color. The lights inside blink and rotate, however, and I failed to capture it in that second when all the segments are lit up.

plain capiz shell parol

28 comments:

Dina said...

Heavenly!

Cezar and Léia said...

wow Hilda, this "parol"is so beautiful and the story is really interesting. Your picture is perfect!
Thanks a lot for teaching us about this adorable tradition there!I liked it a lot! :)
Léia

White Oleander said...

Oh, I like this one!

SouthvilleSunshine said...

Ooooh, that's lovely!

Reena said...

my filam wants these for Christmas. hahaha

cieldequimper said...

Oh fantastic Hilda!

Jacob said...

This is very beautiful. Mother-of-pearl is so nice. I've never heard of the parol tradition, but I like it. Maybe you could bring some parol lanterns and make a tour of the U.S.

Maybe the parol tradition could replace Santa! He's getting really old!

Do you hang these on a door of your home or on a wall?

brattcat said...

This is so beautiful, Hilda. The Aleuts, I believe, make a similar Christmas wheel. So interesting. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Leif Hagen said...

What a lovely Bethlehem star! We don't have those here so thanks for "enlightening" us! Happy Advent regards

afv said...

Pampanga is known for its lovely parols,right? you've captured it beautifully.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

I like this ornament!

George said...

Beautiful. The colors are very warm and peaceful.

marley said...

Lovely. Its interesting how different countries take different elements of the Christmas story to their hearts. And use them to celebrate the events.

Vogon Poet said...

This is wonderful! I love the elegant shape and the soft colors, a lovely and beautiful tradition.

bfarr said...

Very pretty and a lovely tradition.

amasc said...

Hi
I love your eye for detail and your prolific postings. Thanks for visiting me in Vietnam.

hadv said...

That parol would probably be worth more than $100. We have one at home but it was the cheapest one hahaha.. bought on sale. But still as beautiful. I love this part of the Christmas tradition..

arabesque said...

hi hilda, nice parol...very symbolic indeed. ^0^

Louis la Vache said...

Very interesting post, Hilda. «Louis» suspects that your photo, beautiful as it is, doesn't capture the beauty of the Bethlehem Star you witnessed in person.

FA said...

We have lots of Filipino friends at the monastery. Last year, one gave us a parol. We will hang it in the refectory (dining room) again this year. We wait until the 22nd to decorate.

Priyanka Khot said...

Looks beautiful!

Merry Christmas to you and your family. :-)

Autumn Belle @ KDP said...

This parol is very beautiful and meaningful. Have a blessed Christmas!

√ Abraham Lincoln said...

Very nice.

Hilda said...

Reena:
I'm not surprised. The last time my sister spent Christmas here, she brought one home.

Jacob:
Most people hang the star outside (usually under the eaves where it won't hit against a wall) where people on the street can see it. It's a way of saying that 'Jesus is here, in this home' — it's a declaration of faith.

Agnes:
If I remember correctly, this cost only P3,500 a little more than two years ago. It was the colored one that cost P5,000.

James said...

That is absolutely beautiful!

ρομπερτ said...

A further proof that there's magic in numbers and its parts, following a single law which makes it possible to have a five pointed star - maybe it is of a higher power that we will ever know.
Brilliant photography.
Please have a nice Tuesday.

Lianne said...

i love parols! they're my favorite xmas decorations :)

leethroughthelens.blogspot.com

CafebyJW said...

Oh.. beautiful!

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