In the Philippines at Christmastime, these bright lanterns, called parols, fill the streets, their shape echoing the star of Bethlehem.
I remembered when we were in grade school; our teacher would require us to bring a lantern to decorate our classroom. It’s a graded project sort of and so it’s a compulsory thing to present. My parents have too many kids in school at the same time that my Mom had to come up with a great idea of saving money. Actually, we don’t have enough money to spend on those fancy lanterns. So, my Mom just uses some cheap crepe papers and bamboos to make a five-pointed star. It’s quiet simple and very indigenous project. When deadline comes, most of my classmates have these big, bright colored-lanterns while I just got a cheap-looking one. You know, it’s practical for me just for the sake of not getting a bad grade. Our parents used to comfort us (kids) by telling we have the best lantern in school, lol! Well, as you know when you’re a kid, you’re embarrassed when you feel like you don’t belong in the group. I mean, my project is different or not as grand as other classmates.
But as time goes by, it became a family tradition that keeps us together on weekends before Christmas. We love doing all those extra little work of cutting the papers and sticking in the glue.
As I grow older, I have more understanding and appreciation of my parent’s efforts. Those memories of making lanterns had just kept me humbled and rooted with my family. After all, Christmas most importantly is all about sharing the simple joys with one another.