The USF Kasamahan club poses with the centerpiece of its winning parol.
The University of San Francisco Kasamahan club took top
honors in San Francisco’s Parol Lantern Festival and Parade just before the Christmas
Kasamahan, USF’s Filipino-American club whose mission is to
promote unity and solidarity in the Filipino-American community, won a $500
purse for the best parol lantern during the culminating festival contest Dec.
Traditionally made of simple materials such as bamboo sticks
and rice paper in the shape of a star lantern, parols can be found hanging from
family porches and doorways throughout the Philippines during the Christmas season.
The parol symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem, blessings and
hope, peace, and lightness in the dark.
The San Francisco Parol Lantern Festival and Parade, which began in 2003, got underway
this year at the Bayanihan Community Center at 6th and Mission streets and paraded
in celebration to Yerba Buena Gardens where entertainers and performers amused
Taking the theme “There’s always a rainbow at the end of a
storm,” Kasamahan members not only created several lanterns but sang a musical
chant for festival audiences. “In all, we created 12 small parols that were
meant to represent a rainbow and one large parol signifying the sun,” said
Caroline Calderon, Kasamahan historian.
"They came not just in numbers but in focused enthusiam," said Carlo Ricafort, parol contest judge, of Kasamahan's win.