Christmas in the Philippines: Decorations
Decorating the home is an important part of the Christmas celebration in the Philippines. The most cherished Christmas decoration is the parol, a star-shaped lantern. Many families make their own. Children often learn how to make star lanterns in school by covering a bamboo frame with colored rice paper or cellophane. Tassels or streamers are usually attached to each of the five points on the star. In the old days people illuminated these lanterns by placing a candle within them. Nowadays an electric light is often deemed safer.
Many cities sponsor parol competitions in the days before Christ-mas. Judges award prizes to the most beautiful homemade lanterns. In the city of San Fernando, the lantern competition has become a spectacle that draws crowds from the surrounding areas. Each year the lanterns entered in the competition have grown in size. Many now have to be carried on flatbed trucks.
Other Christmas decorations include candles, wreaths, Christmas trees, Nativity scenes, and Christmas cards. Cards may be displayed by attaching them to a red or green ribbon which is then strung across the room. Filipinos also incorporate fresh flowers into their Christmas decorations. Flowers are readily available in the month of December due to the country’s warm climate.
During the holiday season Christmas decorations festoon shops, streets, and plazas as well as homes. Electric light displays, star lanterns, Christmas trees, and scenes from the Nativity story all appear in these public displays.