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Philippines lantern competition kicks off in Downtown GR

Philippines Christmas lantern
Wikimedia Commons
Creative Commons
Philippines Christmas lantern

Two cultural groups in West Michigan are partnering to bring Filipino flair to downtown Christmas celebrations

When to put up Christmas decorations is a common argument in the U.S., but while some start a month or so before holiday, Ace Marasigan says it’s Filipino tradition to decorate as early at September.

“we want to celebrate Christmas because Christmas is so big for us.”

Parols are a staple in these decorations. They’re ornamental lanterns, an iconic symbol during the holiday.

“In the 1912 this gentleman created the first parol to light the way to the church, because we have like a midnight mass in the Philippines and it became tradition so growing up everyone makes their own parole we put it up in our houses, just to welcome Christmas.”

Marasigan, Founder of the Grand Rapids Asian Pacific Foundation wants to bring this holiday spirit to West Michigan. The foundation has partnered with the Philippine Cultural Group of Michigan to host a parol making competition. Lanterns can be submitted throughout Dec. 15th and will be displayed in the windows of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.

Community members can vote on Facebook, with the first-prize winner taking home $300. The groups say the competition is an important avenue for cultural preservation and representation and encourages people of all backgrounds to participate.

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