Christmas symbols in the Philippines and their meanings
The Philippines is also known for its longest time of Christmas celebration. Usually, Filipinos celebrate Christmas as early as September up to the first half of January. During these times, an early preparation such as decorations and party ideas were being prepared. Majority of establishments also plan their Christmas sales ahead of time.
This early preparation of Christmas also entails the use of different Christmas symbols such as stars and lanterns. Have you ever thought why these symbols were associated to Christmas?
Let’s find out.
Christmas star symbolizes hope for humanity. This is true to Christians since the star gave the Three Wise Men, who wanted to give presents to Jesus, the guide to where He is. The wise men, themselves, were astrologers and studied the stars and planets and knew, according to Jewish rabbis, of the triangle and that it had appeared before the birth of Moses.
The stars are often put on top of the Christmas Tree.
- Christmas Tree
Although Philippines does not experience snow where the real Christmas Trees are, the country experiences cold season during Christmas.
Christmas Tree originated in Germany. The tree was brought into the home for good luck and fertility. The white pine was chosen as the Christmas tree because it had limbs far apart for easy decorating with sweetmeats, almonds and fruits. The tree was illuminated with small wax candles, and toys were placed on the tree limbs.
One of the main reasons we have the tradition of giving and receiving gifts at Christmas, is to remind us of the presents given to Jesus by the Wise Men: Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh. Gifts also remind us who our greatest gift is, Jesus.
Exchange gifts in offices or schools are also very popular in the Philippines.
Belen is a display or representation of the Birth of Jesus Christ. According to Louie Nacorda,a renowned iconographer, the Belen would remind everyone, especially the poor and the less fortunate, about God’s begotten son who took the form of a slave to redeem humanity.
Belen is most popular in Pampanga, Philippines.
- Parol or Lantern
May it be a simple or extravagant parol or lantern, it signifies a shared faith and hope among the Filipino People.
The origin of the parol can be traced back during the Spanish era in the Philippines, when the Spaniards brought Christianity to the land. The name came from the Spanish word “farol” which translates into “lantern” and later on became “parol” for the locals. It is believed that Francisco Estanislao, a local artisan, in 1928 made the first parol out of bamboo strips and Japanese paper.-The story behind Christmas
Related article: Ten budget-friendly Christmas Gifts for 2020