The Philippines have the distinction of celebrating the world’s longest Christmas season. Carols can be heard as early as September and the Christmas season ends on Feast of Santo Nino held on the 3rd Sunday of January. Christmas Day is preceded by nine days of dawn masses to show one’s devotion to God. And rather than wait for daylight on Christmas Day to feast, the Noche Buena (Christmas Eve feast) is held directly after midnight mass on Christmas Eve.
A holiday this heralded deserves spectacular decorations and the Filipinos don’t disappoint. Every season, homes and buildings are adorned with beautiful Parols (star lanterns). This folk art is traditionally made with lacquered paper and bamboo but creative revelers have also used cellophane, plastic, rope and capiz shell.
In this predominantly Catholic country, the Parol represents the Star of Bethlehem that guided the Three Wise Men to the manger where Jesus lay. To bring some of that tradition and guiding light to your own house, make your own Parol using bamboo!
Here’s what you need to make your Parol:
- Two 32-inch bamboo strips
- Five 3-inch wire strips
- Ten ½ – inch wire strips
- Colorful paper (24×24) or colorful wrapping paper
To make your Parol:
- Use the thread to tie the ends of each bamboo strip together to form two circles.
- Use the two circles and the five wire strips to make a frame by twisting the ends of each wire strip around the bamboo circles.
- Carefully fold the colorful paper in half.
- Draw the shape of a five pointed star and cut it out. There should be two stars.
- Glue one star to each side of the circular frame.
- Five of the ½ inch wire strips should be where the angles of the star touch the wire frame.
- Attach the remaining five ½ inch wire strips to the tips of the star so that the star bulges.
- Glue the pieces of the paper to cover the frame.
- Attach the tinsel to the bottom points of the star to complete the Parol.