Parol Festival by the Embassy of the Philippines , 04.12.2016, Ankara

Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines
Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Ankara will host a parol (star-shaped lantern) Festival on Sunday, 4th December 2016 in Ankara.

Detailed information of the event is below:


Yuletide season is the most celebrated event in the Philippines. As early as September 1 of each year, preparation for this season such as redecorating residences and offices with Christmas ornaments and putting up of Paról, begins.
A paról is an ornamental, star-shaped Christmas lantern from the Philippines. This iconic symbol of Christmas for Filipinos is traditionally made out of bamboo and paper and comes in various sizes and shapes, but generally the basic star pattern which evokes the Star of Bethlehem that guided the Three Kings to the manger, remains to be the most dominant shape for a parol.
Parol also symbolizes the victory of light over darkness for Filipinos.
The origin of paról can be traced back during the Spanish era in the Philippines, when the Spaniards brought Christianity to the islands. Parols were initially used to light the way to church to faithfully attend the 9-day Simbang Gabi or Misas de Aguinaldo, which begins on the 16th of December, a devotion for petition of special favors. After coming home from hearing the mass, instead of putting away the lantern somewhere else, people would hang it outside the house.

Patterns of the paról evolved from the five-pointed paper star lantern originally crafted in 1908 by an artisan named Francísco Estanislao. His creation was made of bamboo strips covered with papél de japón (Japanese paper), illuminated by a candle or kalburo (carbide).

As times goes by, the lantern evolved into more intricate, lavish and brightly lit Christmas ornament. Aside from the traditional design of parols, other materials are used such as capiz shells with elaborated lights became very popular as well. Adding to the meaning of parol, the lantern also demonstrates the craftsmanship of Filipinos. Many communities, such as villages, schools, and groups hold competitions to see who can make the best paról. Parol-making also become a source of livelihood of various communities in the country.

Nowadays, the materials range from plastic, shells, glass, beads, foil, feathers, hemp, leaves, seeds, soft drink straws, wood and even metal. They usually come in various sizes, from small, tinsel and foil lanterns to gigantic ones that are electrically lit at night, and may have one, three or more tails aside from the ubiquitous two.

The original stellate design of the paról remains common in the Philippines and considered distinct for Filipinos. The traditional craft of lantern-making is usually taught to schoolchildren around Christmastime, but actual manufacture is now primarily done in the barrios and the poblacions and is rarely done in urban areas. A notable exception is Parañaque, a city in Metro Manila, which has the largest paról-making industry in the Philippines, and San Fernando, Pampanga, where a lot of paróls also originate.


In December 2014, the Embassy launched the first ever Parol Festival in Turkey to highlight the parol tradition in the Philippines. The festival is composed of a series of events namely, Parol-making Workshop, Parol-making Contest, Parol Parade and Parol Lighting aimed at showcasing the Philippines’ "Parol" (or lantern) in Turkey.
This year's theme is "Pagbibigayan, Kapayapaan at Pagmamahalan ang Diwa at Mensahe ng Pasko" (Spirit of Sharing, Peace and Love: The Real Essence of Christmas”)
The Parol Festival includes the following activities:

A. Parol-making Workshop

The workshop aims to preserve the long tradition of parol-making in the Philippines where it has become a livelihood program of various communities in the country. It will take the participants through the steps of designing, decorating and making sculptural parol structures.
On 23 October 2016 and 30 October 2016, the workshops for the Filipino Community shall be held in Ankara and Istanbul, respectively.

B. Parol-making Contest (Judging and announcement)

The parol making contest is a friendly competition between groups of Filipino Communities in Turkey. It aims to ignite ‘bayanihan’ or team work as a Philippine value and showcase the Filipinos ingenuity in parol-making.
On 04 December 2016, from 1500-1630H at the Embassy of the Philippines, all submitted entries to the contest shall be judged by prominent personalities from the Turkish Government and Diplomatic Missions who were earlier selected as judges. The criteria for judging will aid the judges in their tasks. Following the judging, the announcement of the winners will follow.

C. Parol Parade

Parol Parade is by no doubt a beautiful way to showcase two of the most beautiful traditions of the Philippines – the Parol and the Parade.
A parade is a tradition in the Philippines which highlights a special event. It is also called public procession often accompanied by musical instruments played loudly while marching. The parade symbolizes the journey of the Filipino Community in Turkey, being light-bearers to their respective Turkish households and corporate and individual employers – also re-enacting the journey of the “Kings of the East looking for Jesus in Bethlehem.”
This year’s parade on 04 December 2016 at 1700-1745H will begin and end at the Embassy of the Philippines located at Kazim Ozalp Mah. Kumkapi Sokak no. 36, G.O.P. Cankaya, Ankara. The Parade shall traverse the streets of Kumkapi at Kazim Ozalp Mahallesi (Please see parade route). Marshals shall direct the route of the parade in coordination with the Ankara Police.

D. Parol Lighting

All parols formed will be installed/hanged at the Embassy garden with glittering lights and decorative materials and simultaneously lit in a lighting ceremony. The parol lighting countdown will be led by Filcom leaders of Ankara and Istanbul.