December 21, 2010

[MyWorld] Pampanga Parols

No Christmas would be complete in the Philippines without the dazzling display of parols - handmade lanterns of every size, color and shape - throughout cities and towns, on the streets, shops and homes.

But the grandest display of all you will find in the province of Pampaga. Every December since 1931 teams of parol craftsmen of various barangays (villages) of the town of San Fernando come together to show off their ingenuity and design talents and to compete in the Giant Lantern Festival. This is an event that today draws scores of spectators from near and far. 

The parols are traditionally painstakingly made by hand with bamboo and paper, but today materials like plastic and fiberglass are also used. Each parol is about  6 meter / 20 feet in diameter and is illuminated by 3,500 to 5,000 light bulbs. If you'd like to learn more about the history and making of parols, a Pinoy blogger explains it well here.

This year nine lanterns put on a splendid light show. There were three rounds. In the first, each parol was given a time period to display a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes to recorded music of their choice (I think it was five minutes). [As usual, images can be enlarged.]


  Pampanga, 2010

In the second round, three parols displayed together to music played by a brass band.



And in the final round, all nine put on a show (from where I was standing  I could only get eight to fit the frame).


I could dispay a hundred photos of lanterns and still you would not get a fair presentation of the range of images; yet here is a montage of another 15 for you to enjoy.


For this event I wish I had been able to record a part of it on video to show  you the full effect of the parol display. Take a minute and watch this one taken last year.
 
I also used one of the parols to create my seasonal e-card for you.



This is my world and I link with the team at  MyWorld Tuesday.

23 comments:

Rajesh said...

Beautiful display of parols. They are colorful and lovely.

VP said...

It's always good to learn something new and in this case it is even an amazing and spectacular tradition!

EG Wow said...

The video was AMAZING! The parols change their colours like giant kaleidoscopes. I would dearly love to see them in person.

Sylvia K said...

These are fantastic and I can only echo what the others have written, Francisca! Your photos and the colors are awesome! And I, too, would love to see them in person. The video is terrific! Hope you have a great week and wishing you a very Merry, Joyous Christmas!

Sylvia

aka Penelope said...

What a beautiful art form, Francisca! They do look like kaleidoscopes or a laser show. Fantastic video, too. Thanks for sharing this exciting event and for your season’s greetings. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Photo Cache said...

this is one of the reasons why i long to celebrate christmas in the homeland again.

VioletSky said...

I have never seen anything quite like this! If I ever plan to travel out that way, I will make sure it is at this time of year to see this in person.

Starnitesky said...

These are new to me, so pretty with all those lights they must be spectacular to see.

Pat Tillett said...

Beautiful photos! Thanks so much for the eCard! I hope your holiday season is everything you want it to be.

Gaelyn said...

Wow, those are fantastic! Looks like a lot of work put into these lanterns. Love your card. Hope you have Happy Holidays!

Evelyn said...

Very nice. Merry Christmas Francisca.

Dina said...

Thanks for your nice greeting card. The same to you.

Thanks for this post and video. I never knew of this tradition. Such creativity and hard work for each lantern!

Kay L. Davies said...

Just beautiful, Francisca! I had never heard of such things. You are an education all by yourself, you know.
Wishing you the very best now and always,
-- K

BraCom (Bram) said...

Beautiful My World Tuesday posting

Merry Christmas and have a nice week,
Greetings, Bram

Link to My Word Tuesday post!

Seen on My World Tuesday

Andrea said...

Those are fabulous photos of the parols, and i would like to thank you for showing it to the world. Yes it would have been lovelier and more authentic if a video is posted. But your photos are great anyway. Do you know that i haven't seen the actual scene in Pampanga? I wish to see the contest also maybe next year. Merry Christmas and happy holidays. May you fully enjoy our type of Christmas.

Kaori said...

I saw the video, Fransisca...WOW! That's amazing how they do that. I'd love to see that with my own eyes one day ;-)

Coffeedoff said...

Wow that is amazing! such a beautiful kaliedoscope of colours.

Jenn said...

Love walking by streets that sell these parols. And I notice that the designs are getting more creative year after year. And you only need one to liven up the place! Great post. Have a great Christmas!!!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Oh my gosh, Francisca, those are absolutely wonderful. I've never heard of them before; thank you so much for sharing. I haven't even looked at the video yet and I am already in awe. (I love kaleidoscopes and these outshine them!) Just lovely -- off to watch the video now.

Merry Christmas!!

Jacob said...

These are hard to believe...and your post is a good example of how people all over the world bring forth beauty through their creativity and energy.

Thank you for the very fine parol card! Your sentiments are my sentiments!

Marites said...

you're so lucky to see them in person and to see them in so many numbers! I just love parols..we do have one at home.

jabblog said...

The parols are stunning.What beautiful works of art.
The video clip reminded me of kaleidoscopes.

JM said...

I've seen these on documentaries but I guess there's nothing like seeing them THERE! Wonderful post.
Wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Francisca.