ACCORDING to Merriam-Webster, the history and etymology of the word "lantern" is from the Middle English lanterne, from Anglo-French, from Latin lanterna, from Greek lampter, from lampein to shine.
Based from this derivation, a lantern connotes a source of light that can illuminate through the darkness, a source of optimism and energy amidst the obscurities of life.
"Parol", the Tagalog word for lantern, accordingly is from the Spanish word farol, which means lantern or light.
The Giant Lantern Festival which Kapampangans, Fernandinos in particular are world-renowned for, has evolved from a simple religious tradition called "lubenas" wherein lanterns lit by candles became a chief element of the nine-day procession which also coincided with the "simbang gabi".
Kapampangans should be proud to own the reputation of being the masters of lantern making in the country, as many local residents are now known as forerunners in the lantern-making industry.
Famous designers and makers of Giant Lanterns of San Fernando are truly making the City of San Fernando well-known to be the haven of Giant Lanterns across the country and even across the globe.
As the main road of Jose Abad Santos Avenue or JASA and the Heroes Hall of San Fernando have been lit up days ago, anyone can help but feel proud, happy, and lifted up in spirits for the radiance and enlightenment that can be felt from the colorful and creative designs of the lantern decors.
Truly, anyone even with the heaviest heart can rest and leave his or her worries while enjoying the ingenious and fascinating display of lights.
It is a given that the simple parols and even the giant lanterns are a tourist attraction that draw many visitors, both local and foreign.
For me, however, I see these colorful, artistic masterpieces not only as a source of entertainment, but also a source of reprieve from all the problems that gloom my life.
For me, as I look and enjoy the sparkle and play of the lights of the parols I see everywhere, I am able to muster up the strength needed and the courage to always look at the brighter side of everything.
As they say our life is made up of the yin and yang, of black and white, of light and dark. In between, we can always look for the pieces and sources that can add color and brilliance to our existence.
The parol is not just a symbol of the Christmas season, as the star is also symbolized to have guided the Three Kings in searching the birth place of Jesus Christ, but the lantern, whether big or small, is the constant reminder that there are things which can be turned off by life's uncertainties.
Through our faith, passion, and the will to push forward, we can always find a light amidst the darkness that surrounds us. We have to remember that we, ourselves, can also serve as a light for others and add a colorful value in their lives.