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Page added on November 29, 2012

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Simbang Gabi 2012

A BEAUTIFUL FILIPINO RELIGIOUS TRADITION

SIMBANG GABI  is one of the longest and most popular among the Filipino traditions in the Philippines.  It is when Catholic churches across the nation start to open their doors shortly before the break of dawn to welcome the faithful to the Simbang Gabi mass.   The custom lasts for nine days, starting on December 16 up to December 24 during which Filipinos attend dawn masses, usually starting at around 4:00  -  5:00 AM. After the mass, families and friends partake of a hearty breakfast of Filipino pastries and delicacies.  This practice started centuries ago during the Spanish colonial period.  Priests held early dawn masses for the farmers who wanted to attend mass but could not leave their work in the rice fields.  These masses were held before daybreak, hence the Filipino term  ‘Simbang Gabi’.   This nine-day novena culminates with the  ‘Misa de Aguinaldo’ before midnight on Christmas Eve to welcome the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Simbang Gabi  is not just a tradition that is celebrated because Filipinos need to do so.  It is a significant moment not only because it strengthens relationships among family members and the community but also because it is a time when our faith is intensified.   This  is the time when we mostly feel the presence of the Lord because it is the  spiritual preparation for Christmas, the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Living abroad does not necessarily break the preservation of our Filipino tradition, however, celebrating Simbang Gabi outside the Philippines requires some creative planning on the part of its organizers.  In Calgary, because the Filipino community does not have its own church and its members are deeply integrated in the respective parishes where they belong, the success of holding a Simbang Gabi novena depends foremost on the availability of parishes willing to host such event.  This year, eleven Calgary Catholic Churches have committed to celebrate the Simbang Gabi.

NOTE:  Reception and fellowship will follow after the mass.

Maligayang Pasko po sa inyong lahat !

Merry Christmas to All !




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