Fil-Am Community Welcomes Christmas Season
Celebrations begin on December 16 with a series of nine pre-dawn Masses (Misa de Gallo) and continue through Three Kings Day on January 6.
Misa de Gallo is a Spanish term that means "Mass of the Rooster" since it is celebrated at 4 a.m., at the first cockcrow. The Mass is also known as Simbang Gabi, a Tagalog term meaning "Night Mass." You don't forget about the Mass because the church bells ring out across the countryside calling people to worship. Sometimes the town band traverses the village for an hour before Mass playing a variety of carols to awaken the residents. In small villages, the priest may go from door to door to call the faithful to Mass. (htpp:://christmas-world.freeservers.com/philippines.html)
NEW YORK—The Filipino-American community in New York and New Jersey staged various activities in the last couple of days to usher in the Christmas season.
Hundreds of Filipinos flocked to the Cathedral of St. Patrick on Saturday, Dec. 6, to witness the Filipino Christmas tradition of Simbang Gabi. For the second straight year, St. Patrick’s opened its doors to the Filipino-American community with the one-evening mass, dubbed Pasko: Noon at Ngayon.
"The Simbang Gabi sa Katedral, as celebrated here in the Archdiocese, brings together the Filipino Catholic community’s religious, cultural, and social commitments. The Mass is offered for the salvation of souls, continues a long-standing Filipino tradition of preparing for Christmas, and focuses on our obligation to care for the most needy in our midst," said Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York, in his message printed on the missalette.
Traditionally, Simbang Gabi is a nine-day novena to the Blessed Mother that starts every December 16. It is one of the longest and most important religious celebrations in the Philippines that has lasted over 600 years.