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A SIMBANG GABI CELEBRATION in SCARBOROUGH



By Rene Calalang
Scarborough-Canada
December 28, 2017

 
 


Customary to us Filipinos, both in our mother country, the Philippines; and those living abroad, Christmas celebration starts nine days before Christmas, with the beginning of a nine day novena, we call Mass of Advent (Simbang Gabi in Pilipino Language), on the 15th of December, and will end on the midnight of December 24, in a mass we call Misa de Gallo.

To us living abroad, this celebration is reliving a tradition. Call it being home, and yet far away from home, this mass, which is normally held at night, or before the break of dawn, is often said in our language, with the choir singing Tagalog Christmas carols.
Here, in the GTA, it was held in many parishes. But the parish which I and my wife Lita were involved was in Scarborough, where the masses was held in two different churches: the Saint Joseph Church, and The Church of Saint Bartolomew. Our involvement was not limited to attending masses, but by doing something extra: Lita, by being a member of the Koro Pilipino Choir – the choir that provided the music during the celebration, and yours truly, by helping in the collection and by being one of the ushers during the last night of the celebration, the Misa de Gallo.

Included in the celebration was after mass, refreshments, provided by the mass sponsors were served, and this included ginger tea (salabat) and other Filipino foods like pancit (noodles), assorted rice cakes (puto bumbong, kutsinta, puto…), and some North American food as well: sandwiches, cookies, sweets….
The celebration was not limited to those of Filipino origin, as others brought some guests. Some, who are married to a spouse of different nationality, also came. And they too had a great spiritual time.

For me, it was a satisfying feeling to see a celebration like this, where I saw families attending masses together. I also saw many seniors who come from our mother country being out there enjoying the celebration. It was even a better feeling to see the younger generation (those who were born here) being part, and some being introduced to their heritage.
Koro Pilipino (the organizers of the celebration) wishes everyone a Belated Wonderful Christmas and a Prosperous New Year in the year ahead.
May the spirit of Christmas be with us – ALWAYS


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