Filipino Special Celebrations

Simbang Gabi

Simbang Gabi or “Dawn Mass” is a Filipino way of preparing for the great feast of Christmas. The tradition was brought to the Philippines from Mexico and in 1587 the Pope granted the petition of Fray Diego de Soria, prior of the convent of San Agustin Acolman, to hold Christmas Mass outdoors because the churches could not accommodate the huge number of people attending the services.

Since the 17th century, Christmas Day in the Philippines has traditionally been ushered in by the nine-day dawn Masses that start on December 16. It is popularly known as Misa Aguinaldo and the Misa de Gallo (Rooster’s Mass) in the traditional Spanish, and these Masses came to be recognized in Tagalog as Simbang Gabi, or “Dawn Mass.”

Vatican II encouraged the Church in the Philippines to continue the tradition and uphold its significant value in the life of the people. The Archdiocese of Seattle has embraced this distinct Filipino religious practice for 17 years now and it is celebrated annually throughout the Archdiocese.

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