Simbang Gabi is a Filipino Christmas celebration that takes place from December 16 to December 24, concluding with Misa de Gallo at the Midnight Mass. Simbang Gabi is a Novena, or a nine-day festival, similar to the Mexican Las Posadas and other Navidad celebrations in the Spanish speaking world.
Dating back hundreds of years to the beginning of Spanish rule over the Philippines, Simbang Gabi emerged as a distinctly Filipino celebration of Christmas. One of the features that developed in response to the agricultural practices of Filipino farmers is that the services are carried out in the very early morning, sometimes as early as 3:00 AM.
Many Canadians trace their roots to the Philippines, including many students here at Lord Tweedsmuir. Ask some of your fellow students about Simbang Gabi! You can also find out more here:
The Holiday Season in the western world has traditionally been synonymous with Advent, literally the period of expectation of an important arrival. For Christians the season of Advent is about the anticipation of Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Christ. In the Christian Church, on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, candles are lit as symbols of Advent.
In 2021 the four Sundays of Advent are November 28, December 5, December 12 and December 19.
It goes by many different names. The Holidays. The Festive Season. Yuletide. Winter Holidays. The Christmas Season. Advent. The Holiday Season. While there is no official start or end, in North America it is generally considered to run from American Thanksgiving, through December, and into the New Year.
Traditionally this season of the year was dominated by observances based on the Winter Solstice. Many cultures around the northern hemisphere developed celebrations that emphasize the contrast of the cold and darkness of winter with the promise of new light and life in the coming year.
These themes are central to the holy days and festivals of many faiths today.
In North America and Europe during the Christian Era, the season focused on holy days and the rituals around the Nativity of Christ. Often the traditional winter solstice festivals of the Celts, Saxons, Vikings and others were taken over by these Christmas celebrations.
For some, the season is secular in nature, without religious emphasis. The Holiday Season is a time for celebrating with family and friends, giving gifts, reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the new.
For many the Holiday Season can be about all of the above, as we combine a variety of traditions and new practices from the delightful mix of cultures and peoples from around the world.
There many different and wonderful Holidays and Holy Days in the coming weeks. Christmas tends to dominate, but it is imporant to learn about other observances and festivals, such as Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Rohatsu and many more.
Join us in the School Library as we celebrate this “most wonderful time of the year.” Look for displays and other opportunities for learning about this season of “Holidays and Holy Days.”
Enjoy all that you and your family have brought to this holiday season. Perhaps in learning about other traditions and practices, you might find something new for you to enjoy at this time of year.