‘Simbang gabi’

Simbang Gabi. (Photo by Richard Grimaldo)

Simbang Gabi. (Photo by Richard Grimaldo)

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – A mass at St. Bridget Catholic church on Sunday, Dec. 23, culminates a nine-day “novena” conducted by the Filipino-American community in Las Vegas in observance of a Philippine tradition.

Called the “Simbang Gabi,” or midnight mass, the religious ceremony, however, will be held at 7 p.m., to accommodate the busy schedule and to adapt to the lifestyle changes in America.

In the Philippines, these masses are usually celebrated early in the morning, between 4 to 5, or 6 to 7 early evening. In some part of the islands, they are also called “Misa de Gallo” or “Misa The de Aguinaldo.”

These masses are the highlights of the pre-Christmas celebrations, which include caroling, starting on Dec. 16. The long Christmas season ends Jan. 6, with the Feast of the Three Kings.

In Las Vegas, the nightly masses started Dec. 15 at Saint Francis of Assisi church. Masses were similarly held at Saint Thomas More, Saint John Neumann, St. Joseph, Husband of Mary, Christ the King and Our Lady of Las Vegas.

On Friday, the mass was at the Saint Francis de Sales church and Saturday at Holy Spirit church.

Refreshments were served after the mass in accordance with the Filipino tradition of serving food and delicacies, which make the ceremony both a religious and social event.


Follow Bert Eljera on Twitter @vegaspinoy60 and on Facebook at facebook.com/BertEljera



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