A traditional Filipino Christmas Advent Mass is being celebrated nightly until Christmas Eve in Scarborough at two local churches.
Koro Pilipino hosts Simbang Gabi until Dec. 24 to be held at St. Joseph Church, which is at 200 Morrish Rd. and St. Bartholomew Church, which is at 59 Heather Rd.
The songs and celebration are in Pilipino. Some urban parishes now celebrate “Misa de Gallo” (Rooster’s Mass) at 8 to 9 p.m, in the evening in order to accommodate the needs of the parish and members of the community.
Shortly after the mass, traditional delicacies awaits the churchgoers. There are food stalls right outside the church.
Popular favourites are bibingka (rice flour and egg-based cake), puto (rice cakes), puto bungbong (a purple, sticky rice delicacy steamed in bamboo tubes, buttered then sprinkled with brown sugar and shredded dried coconut meat).
Hot pandesal (breakfast roll) are also very popular. Drinks include coffee, salabát (ginger tea) and tsokoláte (thick Spanish-style hot chocolate). In some churches, the congregation is invited to partake of the “paínit” (literally “heater”), which are after-Mass snacks of delicacies served with salabat, coffee or cocoa provided by either through potluck or by the mass sponsors.
Attendance at the nine masses is meant to show the believer’s devotion to god as well as to heighten anticipation for the Nativity of Jesus.
A popular belief is that upon the devotee’s completion of the nine masses, God will grant any special wish he or she makes. For more details, call Alicia Siervo at 416-283-7515.