A Parol is a unique Christmas lantern that originated from the province Pampanga in Central Luzon, Philippines. The ornamental star-shaped lantern is a representation of the star of Bethlehem that guided the three kings to the manger.
The five-pointed star was originally crafted by an artisan named Francísco Estasnislao in 1908 using bamboo sticks and covered by Japanese paper. Today, parols have evolved into a myriad of star-like designs, colors, and sizes. They are made of various materials that range from plastic, shells, glass, beads, foil, feathers, hemp, leaves, seeds, soft drink straws, wood and even metal
Every Christmas for decades more intricate. colorful and much much larger Parols are displayed in a parol festival in Pampanga called: "Giant Lantern Festival." These Parols are about 20 feet in diameter and are illuminated by about 3,500 to 5,000 light bulbs synchronized to display movement, shapes, patterns, and color combinations- a lighting show like no other.
Interestingly enough, you would expect that the complex light programming to be controlled electronically but everything is still as it was in the '70s where hundreds of wires hang at the back of the parol and controlled by rotors (drum-like wheels) that switch the bulbs on and off. They are operated by as many as a 20-man team and are mounted on a large truck bed.
Here are a few photos and a video of the Festival in December 2015. The video clip was shot handheld therefore shaky... the place was crowded and I couldn't set up my camera properly on a tripod.