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Filipinos urged to display Christmas lanterns, not Protestant wreaths


MANILA, Philippines – Instead of Advent wreaths, Filipino Catholics should hang “parols” (star lanterns) in their homes and churches this Christmas, a Catholic bishop said Saturday.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said the practice of hanging Advent wreaths comes from Protestant traditions in Europe while the parol is “the most popular symbol of our Filipino Christmas tradition.”

“In consultation with liturgists who advocate for Filipino expressions of our Catholic faith, we want to offer the ‘parol ng halina’ [Advent parols] as an alternative to the European advent wreath,” Villagas said in a statement.

He said each of the four Advent “parols” may be lighted inside churches for every week in the advent season, “the third parol being colored rose or pink while the three others are purple as usual.”

“With the introduction of the ‘parol ng halina’, the practice of having a white parol travel from one end of the church to eventually stop on top of the crib during the Christmas midnight Mass will also become more relevant and meaningful,” Villegas said.

“I propose the ‘parol ng halina’ for your consideration. The important matter to remember is to help our people celebrate meaningfully the Advent season in a way that is truly Catholic and truly Filipino, he added.

Villegas noted that although coming from the Protestant traditions of Europe, the practice of having Advent wreaths in Catholic homes and churches has been adopted by many in the Catholic Church.

“While we do not prohibit the continuation of this tradition, may I respectfully offer an alternative to the Advent wreath that may be more relevant and meaningful for the Filipino Catholic,” he said.

Villegas said the “parol”, which is usually designed as a star, is reminiscent of the Star of Bethlehem.

“It calls to mind the search of the wise men in the Gospel of Matthew ‘Where is he who is born King of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east, and have come to worship him,”” Villegas said.

“The parol can also help us to remember the account of creation in the Book of Genesis ‘God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He also made the stars,’” he said.

“The parol may also help us reflect on the promise of the Lord to Abraham our father in faith ‘I will multiply your seed as the stars of the sky, and will give to your seed all these lands. In your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed,’” Villegas added.

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Tags: Christmas , Holidays , news , Paskong pinoy , Religion , Religious Symbols

  • Anonymous

    Sana nga po Padre, kaso sa taas ng kuryente eh halos ayaw nang sindihan pati Christmas lights. Maawa man lang sana ang mga power providers na magbaba ng rates tutal bultuhan naman ang gamit during yuletide season.
    Sa akin lang po, kung ang mga Hentil eh maniniwala sa Pasko (Christ’s birth), kahit po siguro wreath ang isabit nila eh katanggap-tanggap na.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VKJ2VQO3R6XTR4DFNWY6WOFLXE Pixel

    pakialam nyong mga pari kayo, kanya kanyang trip yan basta mahalaga di kami tulad nyo na puro self-righteous

  • Anonymous

    With the recent news of Catholic church multi billion investment – filipinos should think carefully of their religious belief – you can pray (sincerely) but don´t give donation.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QNLU7TV6IMDQ44UDLCQEUTFFNE Pizza Ria

    ipagdasal na ninyo na lang, fr villegas, ang kaluluwa ni cory aquino. 

  • Vynux the Great

    nagsalita ka naman ang banal na aso at santong kabayo! natatawa ako hihihihi! remember padre we are not under colonial rule anymore, padre damaso! you’re one of the reasons why crabs still crawl and rule inside some of our filipino brothers and sisters. clown!

  • Anonymous

    the born againsts comments are funny. you don’t like catholicism in the philippines, ignore christmas.

    • Anonymous

      is christmas only for catholics? don’t be a fool.

  • Anonymous

    what difference does it make? celebrating christmas is not about what we hang in our house but what each filipino family has on their tables during this eve. wreath is more cost-effective than parols as a matter of fact! you’re forgetting something here mr. socrates villegas, not all filipinos are catholic. know how to RESPECT!

  • Joaquin Fernandez

    Nagpiesta tuloy ng batikos ang mga non-catholics. Walang pakialaman, tutal pareparehong Kristiano, or maybe may mga ateista sa inyo.

  • Anonymous

    Oh man, oh man … those Catholics becoming more and more paranoid and idiotic !! 

  • Anonymous

    The tragedy of Philippine Christmas is that it is one birthday where the celebrator is not invited. In this country, Christmas is all about food and drinks, about sating the appetites. There’s nothing about the Savior in it except the belen which will be packed away when people have sufficiently recovered from the holiday hangover. If Christmases in this country are about Christ, the Redeemer, we would not be in this moral rut and not  be such a blot on the face of Christ. 

    Bishop Villegas, it  does not matter what symbol you hang if Christ does not dwell in your heart and His truth and values do not manifest in your life.  You may adorn your house with hundreds of parols if Christmas is just an excuse to engage in pleasure-seeking,  then you might as well hang the symbols of mammon on your door.

  • Anonymous

    Panay na naman ang mga quote nyo sa bible bishops…
    kala nyo mapamangha nyo na namn kami sa mga hocus pocus nyo.
    sana nag latin kau para gawin na namang orasyon para sa kanilang mga anting2 ng iba nating kababayan na inuto-uto nyu…

    kala ko ba wala ng animosity ang inyong belief of peace kuno at ngaun binubungkal nyu na naman yang mga walang kabuluhang mga dogma nyo…

    Requiem et pace…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_O35ZUXB6OI2QFVRNMFVMIFQWJM Francis

    “Filipinos urged to display Christmas lanterns, not Protestant wreaths.” What ever happened to the adjective, “catholic?” So much for inclusiveness!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_O35ZUXB6OI2QFVRNMFVMIFQWJM Francis

    “Filipinos urged to display Christmas lanterns, not Protestant wreaths.” What ever happened to the adjective, “catholic?” So much for inclusiveness!

  • Anonymous

    Divisive. Irresponsible. Christmas sana united yung mga mensahe. Attributing some practices as protestant, muslim, or pagan does not help. We already forgotten the great schism, spanish inquisition, crusades etc. Why we have to remind again that once magkaaway ang protestant at catholic, muslim at christian, gusto ba ng paring eto kagaya tayo sa ireland, bosnia, and iba pa.

  • Anonymous

    on an economic point of view, better to buy the locally made parols made in Pampanga, rather than the plastic wreath decors made in China or elsewhere… tangkilikin nalang ang sariling atin to create more jobs / business for the local industries.

    • Anonymous

      It would be better not to buy Christmas decorations but rather to help those that are more disadvantaged and needing.

  • Anonymous

    Protestants, Catholics, INC, Mormons, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, etc…you’re all the same worshipping an imaginary god or gods. You preach love and compassion, yet you exclude other people of different faith. You all want respect, but criticising faith is taboo and a conversation stopper.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GURBWYA3AIXC22EF6E6HIHRNQE Ornbort Vortingeresdemesus

     let’s all display wreaths this christmas!!!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GURBWYA3AIXC22EF6E6HIHRNQE Ornbort Vortingeresdemesus

    ..wreaths with the word DAMASO on them. 

  • Anonymous

    I’m just apologizing for this tired old bishop Villegas for he is outdated on his knowledge about how all Christians celebrate Christmas especially in the United States. All christian religion, Catholic, Protestant, Mormon  Iglesia ni Cristo and so forth, are all using common decorations during Christmas. It could be wreaths hang on their front doors but everyone is using them. Here in the Philippines, they don’t have them because nobody sells them. In America, all Catholics, I mean all have wreaths on their front door even inside catholic churches at the altar with huge wreath. We were never told that it was from a Protestant but for all Christians. I think this bishop should travel extensively so his knowledge will expand in time and not just stagnant and behind. Many things and practices from the past has been known to be flawed and non-sense so people now are more flexible that create more harmony than divisiveness.

  • Anonymous



    • Anonymous

      absolutely right! pakialamerong pari eto..

    • Anonymous

      Jesus was born a Jew, grew up a Jew, preach among Jews and died a Jew. Amen.

  • Anonymous

    i always have the belen as the center of my christmas decor.  the reminder is good but i still hold some disappointments  against fr,  villegas. he was the priest under the patronage of cory who in the beginning wanted to protect gloria. so fr. soc shooed away the erap supporters who tried to have their vigil at edsa shrine.  to my thinking, the virgin in edsa shrine is non partisan which this good father did not mind.  and another thing he figured in a cover up of the hello garci tape upon cory’s request for at the start cory didn’t believe that gloria cheated. our history is fraught with deceit and booboos.

    this is in the interest of fair play.  i  have never joined any rally for i believe in the observance of the rule of law and this applies even in the case of gloria.

  • Anonymous

    The Catholic Bishop /Church should give this directive to their flock and not to the general filipino population. Therefore the headline should read as below.  The Church should not muscle their beliefs to all non-catholic filipinos.  Instead of trivial issues such as this the Church should initiate understanding and encourage filipinos from all walks of life, race, sex, age and religious beliefs to work and live together in harmony for a better society

    “Catholic Filipinos urged to display Christmas lanterns, not Protestant wreaths”  should be the correct headline

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ECUPBF7ZHZP4LACW2LQMSEXAGU kaithoma

    In Germany Catholics and Protestants alike do have advent wreaths….. those guys should inform themselves before they utter their usual blablabla…..

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VYVO5BIPX6WO4IGFRGIQE3P6HY Ruben

    First, is Christmas biblical or of pagan origin?  Second, are Christmas tree and so called “Parols” not pagan symbols?  This Soc Villegas should not interfere with what the Protestants and other religious groups do.  Villegas, for your info, was the late Cardinal Sin’s closest aide and adviser.  That’s why many left and continue to leave the Catholic Church.

    • Anonymous

      He is just talking to fellow Catholics not you. Christmas is not pagan, did you see the word Christ?

      • http://twitter.com/sam_comets Sam

        Christmas is PAGAN. Search and you’ll know the origin of it. Study the history of it.

  • trav man

    is this what being a catholic is all about: us and them? sound’s very exclusive. Remember, jesus christ challenged the pharisees with their laws of exclusion. Does this catholic bishop want the philippines to become the ireland of south east asia???  Does christ care whether you have a parol or a wreath on your door??? What good will it serve if christ is to knock on your door and you will not open it???? This bishop is truly a false prophet and his  preachings will bring upon him the wrath of God.

    • http://twitter.com/radows rad

      you should not brand this bishop a false prophet because he is not a prophet…and never he claimed that he is a prophet….

  • Anonymous

    Ang espiritu ba ng Pasko sa mga naniniwala ay sa parol? Di ba dapat ang Pasko ay para kay Kristo? Ang Pasko ay para sa pagkakaisa, katoliko man o protestante o ano ka man. Ang Pasko ay si Kristo sa puso ng bawat naniniwalang tao. Hindi lang sa pag iinom, pagkain,pagtangap ng regalo kundi sa pagbibigay ng sarili sa kapwa tao..Isabit mo kung ano nasa puso mo, kung anu kakayanan mo..

  • Anonymous

    “Filipinos urged to display Christmas lanterns, not Protestant wreaths”

    mga pari at obispo ng CBCP, wala na kaming paniwala sa inyo. kung gusto ninyong tambakan ang mga simbahan ninyo ng mga parol wala kaming pakialam(lalo na kung sa bulsa ng mga pari galing ang pambili).

    sa amin mga PILIPINO ngayon kung gusto namin na menorah ang i-display, wala na rin kayong pakialam.

  • Anonymous

    “you don’t like catholicism in the philippines, ignore christmas.”

    better alternative – IGNORE CATHOLICISM

    celebrate CHRISTMAS


  • Anonymous

    What kind of spiritual leader is Villegas to instigate comparative hate campaign. Catholic, protestant, Muslim, Jews, Druze, all same that profess faith, hope, love, charity, equality and social justice to mankind.
    Well, Villegas thou an Arcbishop is still human, full of biases, ignorance and inperfection. Let logic and rationalization prevail.

  • Anonymous

    This is so wrong… the Catholic church always embrace divisiveness. Please leave the People alone.. So What? is it heresy now for putting wreath instead of parol?  This is no different than burning an innocent person for practicing non Catholic ways during the Inquisition. One of history’s horrible atrocities has been executed by the Catholic church… killing millions of innocent civilians.. 

  • Anonymous

    “My version of Christianity is better than yours!”

    • Anonymous

      Let us celebrate our differences and diversity even though you are clearly wrong!

      • Anonymous

        @jabbawookie:  How do you think we can celebrate our differences and diversity?  Maybe display both the advent wreath and the parol side by side?

  • Anonymous

    How about we urge you bishops to hang a parol, also, in your beautiful SUVs/Pajeros/Patrols? What’s wrong with the beliefs of others? You just feel so good making other beliefs wrong. Were you deprived when you were children? Further, how about we urge you to read the Noli Me Tangere? Give it a shot! You might like it!– You’re actually a character there.

  • Anonymous

    Well, your first name should not be Socrates. Socrates was a learned history figure. Siguro mas magandang pangalan mo ay suckrates, because you suck.

    Anyway, I don’t know about others, but I have forgiven you because you know not what you say.

    Don’t you have anything better to do than sow discord during this holiday season?

  • Anonymous

    Reckless things in this article and Mr Villegas’ statements:
    1) The title, it should be Filipino Catholics.
    2) Mentioning that wreaths are protestant by origin
    3) The words “truly Catholic and truly Filipino”. It would create a misunderstanding that one NOT supporting “parol ng halina” is NOT a true Filipino
    4) Quoting Genesis is unnecessary. According to scripture, God made everything so what’s the point of hanging a star replica? I can hang some mud or some feces and say that “God made everything” to justify this.
    5) Quoting God’s promise to Abraham. Putting it in context, this justification seems off. 

    6) Everything. Why the need to suggest against hanging wreaths? Christmas is about Christ for crying out loud! While I believe that Christmas is purely symbolic from a historical point of view, it does have its merits. Love, peace, good will, you probably won’t find much of that throughout the year.

    Maybe if we can find a way to have Christmas’s spirit 24/7 all year long we wouldn’t need Christmas.
    We can name it Decemberween instead.

    • Anonymous

      The wreath was also a druidic symbol used by the Celts before many of them became Christians, after which they used the wreath along with other symbols of their former religion to glorify their new God, the True God, instead of the pagan deities they used to worship.

      On top of this, those priests have absolutely no right to go around condemning other people’s beliefs and practices, so long as no one does the same thing to theirs. They can hang their lanterns if they want, but I’m keeping my wreath. In fact, I like my wreath better.

  • Anonymous

    These bishops are really running out of things to teach the people. Don’t they realize that Christmas itself has atheist origins? If you look at it, Christmas was celebrated by the early German pagans, so when Deutchland was Christianized and Catholicized, the tradition continued and the Catholic church picked it up.December 25th is part of the Germanic celbration of the winter solicetice. There were no references in the bible that Christ was born December 25th or sometime when it was not winter. So December 25th is really an atheistic – pagan celbration of winter solicetice started by the germanic tribes. So if the bishop feels that prostestant wreaths should not be used because they are un catholic, then he should forget about December 25th and Christmas as well. In the same reasoning, Christmas December 25th in his view should also be atheisticd not be part of the Catholic Church’s Christmas celebrations. Good I am agnostic and do not have to listen to these bishops who meddle in everything.

    • Anonymous

      FYI, pagans are different from atheists.  The terms are not interchangeable.  Aside from that, I agree with you.

      • Anonymous

        To jabbawookie, agree with you that atheists and pagans are different and not interchangeable. But in a Catholic’s view especially these damasos, they are the same, sometime they even treat other Christians such as protestants as pagans and atheists, that is why during the crusades, they were also targeted together with the other so called enemies of the catholic church. But in a strict sense , yes you are right because most pagans have their gods that they believe in wherein an atheist does nto believe in God at all.

  • Anonymous

    The statues in the Vatican used to represent pagan gods. They now represent “saints”.  Archbishop Villegas should lead the campaign to destroy those non-Christian images..

    • Anonymous

      to jabbawookie – agee again with you, in fact Michaelangelo’s representation of God originally came from the greek god Zeus. The disciplic succession from Christ to Peter to the Popes were cut somewhere in the 3rd Century during th council of Acyntha where new Catholic doctrines were introduced that were in no way being practiced by the early Christians. i was even surprised to learn that even Popes were allowed to marry early on the between the first and tenth century. They also had corrupt poes in between. A lot of history were lost that is why they ended up proclaiming as saints some pagan gods.

    • Anonymous

      @jabbwookie:  Which statues in the Vatican are you referring to?  There are no pagan gods in the basilica.  Maybe you are referring to the statues in the Vatican Museum.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EM7Q6PDL72BPTNI666VDWUUSTI JR

    Why? can’t we remember the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ even without the Parol/lantern? where in the Bible does it say that we should decorate our house in Christmas time? at bakit nagpapaliwanag na kayong mga pari ngayon? dahil ba unti-unti ng nagigising ang mga Pilipino sa mga corruption ng mga kaparian?dahil ba nababawasan na ang mga naniniwala sa mga kasinungalingan nyo? tumigil na kayo!kayo ang mga ‘LINTA’ na unti-unting pumapatay sa mga kawawang Pilipino!kung nagbabasa kayo ng Bibliya, yung istorya ni Lazarus at ng mayamang lalaki. Dun makikita nyo na kayo yung mayamang lalaki na walang ginawa kundi LUMAMON, magsaya at si Lazarus yung mga pinoy na kumakain ng inyong mga pinagmumuhan, na ang mga sugat ay dinidilaan ng mga aso dahil walang pampagamot.  Sa bandang huli kayo yung nasa impiyerno na nagmamakaawa kay Lazarus tapos mangangaral kayo kunwari ng kabutihan dito sa lupa? kapag nakita na naming mga Pilipino na isa-isa na kayong mga pari na naparusahan sa lahat ng inyong mga kasalanan dito sa lupa (panggagahasa sa mga kababaihan, panggagahasa ng mga kabataang lalaki, pagkakaroon ng mga anak na pinabayaan, pagpatay, pakikialam sa pulitika, pakikiapid, paggasta sa pera ng bayan, pananakot, panunuhol, pagkamkam ng ari-arian ng iba at NOTE: ang mga kasong ito ng mga pari ay di lang sa Pinas nangyayari kundi sa buong mundo) then maybe mababalik ang tiwala ng mga mamayan sa inyo. Ang tanong sa kasaganaang tinatamasa nyo ngayon, aamin ba kayo sa inyong mga ginawa? kaawaan nawa kayo ng tunay na Diyos!

  • Anonymous

    Lanterns can cause fires especially those done by people in the Catholic charities trying to save money on materials. Use wreaths, it is safer. Let us keep our Christmas safe this year, stop listening to those senile bishops of the Catholic Church they have nothing better to do than to promote discord at a time when all of us should be uniting and respecting each other no matter what color, race, religion, spiritual beliefs. These agents of darkness are trying to defeat the true meaning of Christmas.

  • Anonymous

    Christmas is a very pagan rite my friend. @pogs….
    the early christian leaders, in their search for identity and control conveniently hijacked this practice from much more ancient pagan beliefs and eventually claim it as their own.thus the “christ” prefix…

    Everyone knows that Jesus Christ wasn’t born on 25 December. The Catholic Church openly acknowledges the fact and didn’t adopt this date for Christ’s birth until the fourth century CE. The Gospels don’t bother to mention the calendar date of Christ’s birth, so the early church saw no reason to celebrate it.

    In the old Julian calendar, 25 December was the winter solstice (under the modern Gregorian calendar it falls on 21 or 22 December), and was regarded as the annual “birth” (nativity) of the sun because the day begins to lengthen and the Sun’s power increases from that day onwards.

    • Anonymous

      Replying to tonyoks,

      sabi mo — “Christmas is a very pagan rite…”

      sagot ko — To commemorate the birth of our Lord Jesus, is not a pagan rite.  It is an expression of love and faith in God. 

      Do not take the meaning out of the tradition — relax, enjoy, pray . Be thankful.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GURBWYA3AIXC22EF6E6HIHRNQE Ornbort Vortingeresdemesus

      you think too hard. go out and celebrate with a street kid, sing a carol, pray at midnight mass or just get rowdy drunk. everyday is Jesus’ birthday because time is immaterial to God. we just want to hold it on that day, so if you don’t like it, make your own christmas :)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EM7Q6PDL72BPTNI666VDWUUSTI JR

    ah, alam ko na! siguro ito ang bagong business nitong BANAL pari na ito kaya ineendorso niya ngayon sa mga Pilipino.

    • Anonymous

      Replying to JR,

      sabi mo —”siguro ito ang bagong business nitong BANAL pari.”

      Sagot ko —Ang killjoy mo naman

  • Anonymous

    mga mahal kong kababayan

    saan man kayo naroroon sa sandaling ito
    ipikit nyo ang inyong mga mata
    buksan nyo ang inyong mga isipan
    gunitain ang nakalipas nong ikaw ay bata pa
    sa tuwing sasapit ang pasko
    kakaibang tuwa at saya ang nadarama
    dala marahil ng lamig ng hangin
    sa saliw ng mga pamaskong kanta
    at naggagandahang mga parol sa bintana

    philippine christmas is the best. you’ll find it nowhere else. take it from me.

    merry christmas everyone.

  • Anonymous

    PAKI ninyo! Mga Damaso!  Kung ano gusto naming i decorate, mapa Chinese man yan. Basta masaya ang lahat mas lalo ang mga bata!  Isabit ninyo yung mga SUV para masaya rin mga matatandang kasamahan ninyo!

    • Anonymous

      Replying to pakita_ko_sayo,

      Anong paki_mo_samin ?

      Yung message ng bishop ay para sa mga Pilipinong Katoliko.

  • Anonymous

    Christmas Isn’t Christmas Till it happens in our hearts. Parol or Wreath has nothing to do with this, it is the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ. The Archbishop should not promote some ideas that divides us. Christmas should unite us Protestants and Catholics. 

  • Anonymous

    Parol or Wreath, whatever lol. Christmas lights nalang!

    Though in fairness naman, naka-adress lang sya sa filipino-catholics, so to each his own I guess.

    Buti di sinabing “all filipinos should”, kung sakali, prepare for war na! lol.

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