Many things symbolize the beginning of Christmas season in the Philippines. One of which are multiple parols starting to light up the streets and homes of every Filipino. One province that truly stands out at this time is Pampanga, which has earned the title of “Christmas Capital of the Philippines.”
Read Also: The History of Parol and It’s Importance in Every Filipino Christmas Tradition
Why is Pampanga known as the Philippine Christmas Capital?
The Spanish word Parol, which means lantern or light, is whence the name parol originates. The star is beloved in the primarily Christian nation of the Philippines as a source of light and a symbol of hope, and Filipinos attach great value to the symbolism of light. But this type of creation would not have been possible without the Fernandinos’ continuous efforts, and even more so with their creativity and ingenuity.
The parol of the star lantern, which is vibrant, lovingly made, and glowing with the spirit of the season, is possibly the most important Filipino Christmas symbol. The City of San Fernando, the place that gave birth to the Christmas lantern known as Parul Sampernandu in Kapampangan, can never be separated. It is what makes San Fernando famous and it is what has given the city not just national but also international fame.
San Fernando has acquired the title “Christmas Capital of the Philippines” thanks to the Parul Sampernandu. The Giant Lantern Festival of San Fernando unquestionably doubts the occasion for which the province of Pampanga is most known. And it is unfortunate that we rarely recognize the extensive planning and effort the creators put into each of these gigantic lanterns. The City of San Fernando has earned the moniker “Christmas Capital of the Philippines” thanks to these enormous lanterns and the local lantern-making industry.
From the Giant Lantern Festival of San Fernando, the San Fernando lantern industry developed. Every December, the festival takes place. Its origins may be found in Bacolor, where a much more straightforward event was conducted. In San Fernando, “Ligligan Parul” (Lantern Competition) is reputed to have begun in 1904. However, some claim that the “Ligligan Parul” began in 1908 and did not occur immediately after the move. The religious practice is known as “lubenas,” a nine-day novena before Christmas, which took place from December 16 to December 24, coincided with the “simbang gabi,” or “giant lantern festival,” which is the forerunner of the current Giant Lantern Festival. With the enlargement and complexity of the lanterns, this custom progressively changed.
The Saturday before Christmas Eve is always the day for the Giant Lantern Festival. This yearly celebration, which features enormous lanterns as the main attraction, has earned San Fernando the moniker “Christmas Capital of the Philippines.”
The City of San Fernando, Pampanga, also known as “The Christmas Capital of the Philippines,” hosts the Ligligan Parul, or Giant Lantern Festival, every December. To start the Christmas season, the celebration features a lavish display of enormous parol lanterns made by rival barangays. Traditional Christmas crafts called parols include intricate patterns and flashing, vibrant lights.
It is one of the professions that is undeniably Kapampangan. Early in this century, the town of San Fernando saw the invention of the lantern. The elaborate patterns and the idea of glowing brightly, which draw attention to the San Fernando lantern’s brilliant colors, set it apart from typical parol lanterns.
People often associate the Parol, or Christmas lanterns, which the talented artisans of San Fernando, Pampanga take great delight in crafting, with Christmas in Pampanga. As a result, Pampanga is one of the best areas to celebrate Christmas and is known as the Christmas Capital of the Philippines. It is due to their festivity, which has progressively grown in significance within Filipino Christmas culture. Every year, as Christmas draws near, the province of Pampanga transforms into the hub of a bustling business centered on handcrafted lit lanterns known as “parols,” which exhibit a kaleidoscope of light and color.
A parade of enormous Christmas lanterns
On Pampanga, the Philippines’ “Christmas Capital,” the Giant Christmas Lantern Parade is one of the most extravagant Christmas festivals. The Saturday before Christmas Eve is the main event of this yearly celebration, which takes place in the City of San Fernando in December. There are battles between giant lanterns in it. Because of the festival’s enormous popularity, the city is considered the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines.”
Consequently, if you want to experience Christmas to the fullest, you should not miss this annual event, for which thousands of people travel to Pampanga every year to witness this breathtaking sight.
Village of Paskuhan
In keeping with the Filipino custom of hosting the ‘s biggest Yuletide celebration, Paskuhan Village is a theme park well known for its year-round Christmas extravaganza. Paskuhan Village, currently known as Hilaga Village, is situated in Barangay San Jose San Fernando Pampanga, the Christmas Capital of the Philippines. Here, the best Filipino arts and crafts, as well as making-of demonstrations, are on display. Along with a model Philippine hamlet celebrating a traditional Christmas, there is also a life-size reproduction of the nativity scene on display. Additionally, there are museums, an orchidarium, a carnival, and food stands selling seasonal fare.
Fernandiños: Top Lantern Makers
Many people are unaware that San Fernando hosts lantern productions all year round. The off-peak season, which runs from February to October, is typically when lantern costs are at their lowest. Capiz shells and other materials, including wood and plastic, are used to make multicolored lanterns. These lanterns are expertly created to create pieces of art that are unquestionable of the highest caliber.
But the festival’s motto is “unity among its various neighborhoods via a variety of lanterns.” This article also covers some additional information for a broad understanding of the Giant Lantern Festival and the city in particular which is why Pampanga is the Christmas Capital of the Philippines.
With pomp and revelry, the occasion is performed
As numerous neighborhoods participate in the Giant Lantern Festival and every individual in the community makes a point of doing so, it is truly a people’s festival. Every lantern may have a highly specialized design, purchase, and manufacturing procedure which also involves a large number of people. With 3,500 to 5,000 light bulbs and a maximum length of 20 feet, some lanterns demonstrate the level of thought and preparation that goes into them. Occasionally, lanterns with 10,000 or more light bulbs inside have also surfaced. The public is thus very interested, and Central Luzon Television covers the celebration. That is why Pampanga is the Christmas Capital of the Philippines.
The event was traditionally a religious ceremony
The Giant Lantern Festival was originally more of a religious rite named Lubenas, also known as Ligligan Parul. There used to be a public procession to mark the ninth day of Christmas, with participants carrying twelve lanterns, each of which represented a different apostle. The first legitimate Giant Lantern Festivals, however, were conducted in the 1930s in honor of Manuel L. Quezon, the president of the Philippines. Since then, it has been seen similarly.
The city is quite accommodating of all religions
Despite having a large Christian population, the City of San Fernando appears to have more liberal political beliefs, which allows for the presence of multiculturalism across the city. This city, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Fernando, has more than 80%, Catholic people. Florentino Lavarias serves as the organization’s leader. However, some other types of Christianity are also common in this area, such as Independent Christianity and Protestants.
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Written by Janine Nato