The Philippines has always been one of the few Asian countries who truly celebrates Christmas not just as global celebration of joy but because of it’s religious significance, and perhaps, as a way of life to us. So it’s not surprising that as early as the ‘-ber’ months comes there are already Christmas songs in the airwaves, carolers murdering Christmas songs, Christmas decoration in malls and of course Christmas lanterns sold by the sidewalks. The celebration goes on all the way until February.
In speaking of Christmas lanterns, or parol as we call it here, I remembered that five years ago in our Humanities class in Business School we were grouped into teams of six to build parols. The mechanics were to create bright beautiful star shaped lanterns using indigenous materials under a minimal budget. These are same mechanics our group deliberately
broke bent just to be the baddest ass kicking Star making team. Other groups built a star, we made two stars rolled into one with ten bright bulbs for each point and with all the unexpected badassery we put in there. So we also blew up our budget that we actually spent twice the grand prize. But it was a really fun activity!
Ironically making that Parol was never really about winning, I can remember we just making the parol as an escape from Taxation nightmares and the insanity of Accountig studies. It was really about fun and pouring in some creative juices that were constantly denied at school haha. Btw, the framework of the star were commissioned at the near Provincial Jail, and we’re actually cool walking inside the prison and hanging up with the inmates for a few days . They said our presence out there was like a second chance to them. Extra income. Redemption.
Our parol’s was about religions in the world, so that explains the markings we carved in the red parts of the Parol. They are Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddism and Toism (I’m not sure with the last one). So I guess that makes that parol even more special and still applicable to our world today that still badly needs respect and understanding towards other cultures.
Fast forward to the present, I found myself gearing up for this exciting project of resurrecting the Parol! It’s going to be a solo flight for me since my groupmates have their own jobs in different cities and countries (I’m the only one left in the province!). But hey it’s still a couple of months away before Christmas. I may even bribe my brothers from joining me this coming semestral break. So I drew up a rough plan of the parol, and please consider my lack of drafting skills:
The initial budget is set at P1,500 ($35) but I’m expecting this amount will double which is still quite a significant cost on my travel fund. Yes I’m already starting to save for a Vietnam trip next year probably around the Mid-Autumn Festival which is coincidentally celebrated with lanterns (see cover photo above created by the Vietnamese artist Tuyet Dinh Sinh Vat). But no matter what the cost will be, the sight of seeing another hard-worked parol hanging in our for all the townspeople to behold is simply a priceless thing no accountants can ever measure.
May this parol project make this Christmas a little brighter. So help me God. Merry Christmas everone!