‘Simbang Gabi’ tradition alive in Brussels

By Raquel Bernal-Crisostomo, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Dec 18 2012 03:46 PM | Updated as of Dec 19 2012 03:40 AM

BRUSSELS – Filipinos exert more effort in making sure that Pinoy Christmas traditions, like the Simbang Gabi, are practiced even if they are away from the Philippines.

Unlike in the Philippines where masses are traditionally celebrated at dawn, Simbang Gabi in Brussels starts at 8 in the evening.

Wally Alcones and his wife travelled all the way from Charleroi to join the celebration in Brussels.

“Ginagawa rin namin ang pagsisimbang gabi pag nasa Pilipinas. Ngayong narito na kami sa Europe, sa Belgium, ginagawa pa rin namin ito. Syempre tradisyon natin alang-alang sa ating Poong Hesus,” he said.

Even Belgians married to Filipinos adhere to their spouses’ tradition.

Chaplain Rev. Father Raymund Gaspar, on the other hand, encouraged everyone to offer the mass to sick “kababayans”.

“Lalo na ang mga kapatid natin na dumaranas ng sakit at karamdaman. Nawa sa pagdiriwang natin ng Simbang Gabi, ng siyam na araw ay dalawin sila ng Panginoon at hipuin ng kanyang mapag galing na kamay,” Father Gaspar said during his homily.

After the mass, parishioners enjoy sumptuous meals like pancit, goto, puto’t dinuguan, batchoy and kutsinta prepared by different groups and organizations.

For many Filipinos, Christmas is not complete without the Simbang Gabi. They may be away from the Philippines, but this is one tradition that they will never forget.