Saturday, December 11, 2010

Parol inspires migrant Pinoys to reconnect with roots

LONDON, England - While a choir was serenading them with Christmas carols, British-Filipinos in London created their own lanterns using mixed media, rice paper, and the traditional bamboo sticks. 
The iconic symbol of Philippine Christmas, known as "parol" was the inspiration to recreate Christmas, Pinoy-style, in the event dubbed as Parol Workshop held at Whizz-Kids Organisation offices in Victoria.
It was the second annual Parol Workshop organized by Philippine Generations, a London based non-profit organization. 
Just like last year, the recent Parol Workshop inspired many Filipinos, British-Filipinos, and Londoners of all ages to produced their own parol. 
An eclectic group of multi-cultural artists were also invited to showcase their work and also give some ideas in creating a unique design. 
“This is one of the activities that kids here will learn more about the Filipino culture. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of depressing news out there, like recession. For us, we always talk about the parol as the symbol of hope. This is what we want to bring here in London, that this Filipino icon for Christmas that also symbolizes hope. It is also refreshing to have this activity in London,” said Sam Jennings of Philippine Generations. 
It was a family event and social function combined. Parents took advantage to socialize and bond with the whole family, especially with their younger children.  
“Sa Pilipinas ako pinanganak, I was brought up there. So, gusto kong makilala niya ang roots niya, ang Filipino roots niya kaya yung Christmas celebration, gusto ko malaman niya kung saan siya nanggaling,” said Crystal Dias who came with her daughter and foreigner husband.  
For some of the children who joined the workshop, it was their way of reaching out to their families back home. 
“It is very joyful because if we make parol, our family in the Philippines will like us or something,” said Matthew Conlan.   
“You get into the Filipino Christmas spirit and you make not just decorations from here but also from your home as well-the Philippines,” said Genny, Matthew’s elder sister. 
Children and adults alike enjoyed the activity. Foreign guests who participated also enjoyed the experience of the Filipino Christmas spirit. 
The workshop culminated with a multitude of colors and ideas in star-shapes, hanging in the ceiling.  
The best three parol created by the workshop participants were chosen to represent the Filipino community in London in the West End at War Exhibit, showcasing rare artworks from Westminster Archives. The exhibit opened on 9 December and will end 13 January 2011.

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