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:
Rohatsu, Laba and Bodhi Day are all different names for the celebration of the Enlightenment of the the Buddha.
In much of the world is is known as Bodhi Day. In China it is known as the festival of Laba, while in Japan it is known as Rohatsu.
The religion known as Buddhism dates back to the 6th or 5th Century BCE, when the Indian Prince Siddhartha Gautama became the “Buddha,” literally, “the Enlightened One.” The followers of the Mahayana branch of Buddhism observe Rohatsu, Laba, or Bodhi Day, in celebration of the day that the Buddha sat below the Bodhi Tree and meditated on the meaning of life.
This day is celebrated mainly by the Buddhists of northern and eastern Asia, and in countries to which those people have immigrated (such as Canada). To many this holiday is known as Bodhi Day and it occurs on the 8th day of the 12th month of the lunar year. With the Japanese adoption of the western calendar (Gregorian) Rohatsu is fixed on December 8th.
Hanukkah is almost here. Jews in Canada and around the world celebrate Hanukkah starting at sundown on Sunday, November 28.
The Festival of Lights is a celebration of God’s deliverance and provision. The event began in remembrance of Maccabean revolt in the 2nd Century BCE, when the Hebrews recaptured the Temple in Jerusalem, the spiritual centre of Judaism. Each candle of the Menorah is lit, one per day for the 8 day Festival.
Like all Jewish Holy Days, which follow the lunar Hebrew Calendar and therefore vary against the Gregorian calendar, Hanukkah can occur anytime from late November to late December. This year Hanukkah will conclude on the evening of December 6.
For more information on Hanukkah, check out some of the following:
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.
The Holiday Season has begun. Known by many names such as the Festive Season or the Holidays, this wonderful time of year traditionally begins with American Thanksgiving and continues into December and the New Year. This year, perhaps more than most in recent memory, the Holidays are a welcome escape and temporary respite from the problems and issues of our day.
Yet the reality of the pandemic remains. As hard as it will be to adjust our long held traditions of seasonal gatherings with family, friends and neighbours, we need to do so. Please find ways to celebrate the season that will help us all, together, to fight the spread of Covid. Please follow all the guidelines that restrict the nature and scope of social gatherings. Maintain social distancing. Wear your mask. Let’s work to keep our most vulnerable family, friends and neighbours as safe as possible during this Holiday Season.
Look soon for our “Holidays and Holy Days” display of books and other library materials related to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule and the various feasts and festivals of this otherwise dark and cold time of year.