THIS FRIDAY, the coffee table book Ligligan Parul 2014 will be launched at Robinsons Starmills as a prelude to the start of the Giant Lantern Festival the following day. What was originally planned as mere souvenir program evolved into something more lasting, worth keeping – and displaying – opus. Here is our humble contribution to the book effort. Our local lantern from a micro perspective.
A REPRESENTATION of the Star of Bethlehem that guided the Three Wise Men to the manger where Jesus Christ was born. So is the Capampangan parul generally defined.
The word originating from farol, the Spanish word for lantern, turning to the Tagalog parol. Its roots traced to the Mexican piñata, coming to the Philippines with the panish colonization.
A simple lantern, the parul served in the olden days as today’s handy torch or flashlight – to light the way of the faithful to church in the pre-dawn Misa de gallo novena Masses leading to the Misa de Aguinaldo on the night of Christmas Eve. Assuming spiritual meaning therefrom as some “light to find the Christ.”
From its bamboo strips and colored paper beginnings, the parul has evolved into myriad forms and materials, taken to its ultimate incarnation of a spectacular kaleidoscope of lights and colors in the Parul Sampernandu. Throughout its evolution and in all its variations though, the elemental star shape remained a recurring constant in the parul.
Evoking its history, in Matthew 2:1-12: Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem. Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews?
For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him…. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.
Impacting its meaning: Where the Star is, there the Christ is. And there love is, there joy is, there peace is. The parul thence – medium and message as one.
AS WE get mesmerized by the magical spectacle of the synchronized interplay of color, light and music that the giant lanterns of the City of San Fernando invariably bring, may we not lose the meaning of the Star in our hearts. He’s the reason for the season. No matter the seemingly relentless drive to take Him out of it.