filipino

Simbang Gabi is Filipino Advent tradition honoring the Blessed Mother

Parishioners Kevin Eulalia, left, Fely Eulalia and Merlinda Eulalia served Filipino delicacies after a Simbang Gabi Mass Dec. 18. Simbang Gabi is a novena of Masses honoring Mary. The tradition of Simbang Gabi traces back to the arrival of Spanish missionaries in the Philippines about 500 years ago. At the time, they had a tradition of celebrating pre-Christmas novena Masses in honor of the Annunciation.

Lily Elznic has fond childhood memories of celebrating Simbang Gabi growing up in the Philippines.

She and her family, who lived about an hour outside of Manila, would head to church for Mass in the early hours of the morning — for nine days straight.

"With all our friends in the neighborhood, we'd all go to the church," she said. "Along the way we'd watch the (Christmas) lights on the houses. After Mass, there would be a line on the street with food vendors — all of our favorite foods. Every morning it was a celebration."

‘Who is waiting for you?’ | Filipino Catholics celebrate Simbang Gabi

Filipinos celebrated Simbang Gabi Dec. 15 at Holy Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver, British Columbia. Simbang Gabi is a Filipino tradition of nine Masses typically celebrated at dawn on the days leading up to Christmas Eve.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Two figures dressed as Mary and Joseph made their way down the center aisle of Vancouver's Holy Rosary Cathedral. At various points, they stopped and asked a parishioner playing the part of an innkeeper for a place to stay. Invariably the reply was negative. Finally, the two figures reached the foot of the altar and asked the congregation if they had any room for Christ. The congregation said they did have room for Christ, and only then did the entrance procession for the first Simbang Gabi Mass of the year begin.

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