Thousands of Filipino Catholics from throughout Southern California Saturday will celebrate the beginning of Simbang Gabi, one of the oldest Filipino Christmas traditions, with a special Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
Archbishop José H. Gomez will preside at the liturgy.
The Mass will be preceded by the traditional “Parade of Parols,” or lanterns. The parols, a Philippine Christmas symbol, will be blessed at the end of the Mass.
In the Philippines, the parol is used to light up people’s homes and is carried by parishioners attending Simbang Gabi Mass, or Mass before dawn. The procession will also include parols of religious Filipino-American organizations, civic and professional organizations and the Philippine Consulate.
The Filipino tradition of Simbang Gabi dates back hundreds of years. It begins nine nights before Christmas Eve. An Advent Mass is celebrated before dawn each night in preparation for Christmas.
The Mass will be live-streamed on the cathedral’s Facebook page here.