How to Make a Parol – The Filipino Christmas Star

Have you seen the ad from Disney entitled “From Our Family to Yours” — it was recently released by Disney UK. The heartwarming ad centres on a family with Filipino heritage. It follows the story of a young girl in 1940 to her old age. Best to watch it to see how wonderful it is:

Aside from the wonderful story, it also features a ubiquitous Filipino tradition of displaying a handmade Christmas star called a parol. The tradition is believed to originate from the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines. During that time, religious processions were held to honour Our Lady of La Naval or the Blessed Virign Mary. It featured cross and fish lanterns. In 1908, a salt vendor from the town of Pampanga added a gigantic Christmas star to the parade. People started calling it parol, which gets its name from Spanish word farol — which means lantern.

What you’ll need:

How to make it

  • Step 1: Pair up the sticks and tie one end together with rubber band but leave 2 individual pieces untied. You should have 4 pairs now plus 2 pieces. Shape each pair into a V.
  • Step 2: Form a star shape by getting 2 pairs and intersect them.
  • Step 3: Weave one bamboo stick horizontally through this figure and connect each end to the edges that are sticking out. This should complete your star shape. Do the same with your remaining bamboo sticks.
  • Step 4: Using a glue gun, stick your spacer or dowels on the middle points that intersect. Attach the other star shape on top so they are now parallel. Bend the ends of the bamboo sticks slightly and attach them together with rubber bands.
  • Step 5: Using a glue stick, attach your Japanese paper on the exterior of the star cutting excess pieces as you go. Make sure you cover all sides, except – middle one of one side. This will give you access to put in a battery operated light inside. 

Your star is complete! You can add a string on top to hang it. You can decorate the bottom with paper tassles or bunch up pieces of your paper to create pompoms that go on each point of the star.

Enjoy your parol!

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