What is Simbang Gabi?
Simbang Gabi is a Filipino Christmas tradition. Traditionally it is a series of nine dawn Masses on the days leading up to Christmas beginning on December 16th and ends at midnight on the 24th of December, when a midnight Mass is held. This tradition was introduced by the Spanish friars in 1587 to allow the farmers to hear Mass before going to the fields early in the morning. The Masses can start as early as 4 AM in the morning. Simbang Gabi is also known by its popular Spanish name, Misa de Gallo, or "Mass of the Rooster''. Simbang Gabi Masses always have Filipino touches. Shortly after the Mass, traditional delicacies - usually served with tea or coffee - await the churchgoers at a reception.
The tradition of Simbang Gabi continues in the United States. Over the years, Filipino communities have made some changes in the way that this event is celebrated. Some parishes now celebrate Misa de Gallo in the evening in order to accommodate the needs of the members of the community who have different work schedules. Here in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, neighboring parishes each take one of the nine nights, and people go from church to church for the novena.
The St. Louis Filipino American Community along with the Filipino Council of the Archdiocese of Baltimore invites you to the join them for the Filipino tradition of Simbang Gabi as a powerful spiritual tool to prepare for Christmas.