Ceremonial lighting of parols kick off Simbang Gabi celebration at Philippine Center New York

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NEW YORK, 8 December 2015 – A parol-lighting ceremony led by Consul General Mario L. de Leon, Jr. and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Lourdes O. Yparraguirre kicked off the 9-day traditional Simbang Gabi sa Konsulado on 7 December 2015 at the Philippine Center New York. 

The traditional parols, made in San Fernando, Pampanga, were set up at the window display at the Philippine Center as a way to depict how Filipinos celebrate Christmas.  The colorful display of lights added to the glitter of Christmas décor that line New York City’s prestigious Fifth Avenue, where the Philippine Center is located, and effectively showcased the artistry and craftsmanship of the parol makers.

In his remarks, the Consul General described the parol-lighting ceremony as a tribute to the Filipino tradition of hanging parols in their homes as an expression of their faith and hope.  The parol is also an expression of gratitude for the blessings in the past year, and a prayer for guidance in the coming one, he said.

He added that the parols represent an important tradition of the Filipino people at Christmas, one that deserves to be shared with our non-Filipino friends.

“It is an important element of our duty to celebrate Filipino culture, and share it with the mainstream community in New York,” Consul General de Leon said.

The evening was also the occasion to officially launch the “Orange the World” initiative, led by the Philippine Mission to the United Nations, to support the global campaign to end gender-based violence.  Orange-colored lights illuminated the entrance of the Philippine Center in solidarity of the world-wide initiative.

Consul General de Leon and Permanent Representative Yparraguirre ceremonially pressed the switch that simultaneously lit up the parols and the orange lights.  

The lighting ceremony was witnessed by personnel of the Philippine Consulate General New York, the Philippine Mission to the United Nations and the Philippine Center.