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    Posted December 27, 2013 by
    Pampanga, Philippines
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Travel photo of the day

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    Inside and Behind Gigantic Christmas Kaleidoscopes


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     nigelax has experienced the beauty of the Lantern Showdown festival in San Fernando, Philippines, since he was a little kid. This year, 23-year-old photographer had the opportunity to get behind the scenes of the giant Christmas Kaleidoscope display. 'These are actually 20 foot Christmas lanterns,' he explained. 'They are made of steel frames with 10,000 or more lightbulbs.'
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    Alluring. Fascinating. Stunning. This is how kids describe a small Kaleidoscope. But what if this small piece of art becomes 20-feet tall? Impossible? Nope. It isn't. Meet the Giant Lanterns of San Fernando, Pampanga, Philippines.

    Since 1908, the Fernandinos (as they are called) produce lanterns for Christmas for a local tradition called "Lubenas". Each barrio (neighborhood) creates lanterns for the 9-day novena masses before Christmas. This tradition, carried on almost every barrio, grew as years and decades passed. The designs of the lanterns become larger and more intricate – thus giving birth to the 20-foot lanterns today.

    The lanterns are made from 10,000 or more light bulbs wired by electrical wires amid an electric Rotor (large steel barrels that switch and maneuver the lights) using masking tapes and hairpins. Each of these lanterns are being carried by a 12-wheeler truck with the rotors on the back.

    All the lanterns compete with each other on the last Saturday before Christmas where they meet in an open area and showcase their patterns of shape and color to the tune of christmas carols, dance hits, and a live brass band.

    But these lanterns are not run by a computer in able to display. Inside and behind of the truck are the rotors manually driven with seismograph-like patterns that only the makers of the specific lantern can understand.

    Meet the people inside and behind the lanterns and inside the 20-foot kaleidoscopes.

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