Filipino Christmas Mass in Wapato, WA Is a Yakima Valley Treasure
The Christmas Season has officially come and gone, but next year on December 16th, 2024, I hope you take some time to attend Simbang Gabi and its accompanying delicious Filipino Christmas cultural celebration in Wapato. My daughter, Willow, and I were invited to attend this year's festivities by our dear friend, Precy.
WHAT IS SIMBANG GABI MASS?
Members of the Wapato Filipino community and the St. Peter Claver Parish celebrated the beginning of nine night mass events. Many Filipinos of the Catholic faith all over the world observe the annual holiday mass.
The holiday mass is also celebrated with a large and joyful feast at Filipino Hall after the service. My daughter and I arrived at the church (509 S Satus Ave) just in time for the Simbang Gabi Mass to begin at 5 p.m.
Worshipers filled the hall and stood solemnly as Bishop Tyson, a Reverend, and other ushers carried sacred emblems down the parish aisles toward the pulpit.
Several parts of the mass were spoken in Filipino, Hawaiian, and English. The songs were sung in Filipino. I was moved to see my daughter respectfully attempt to sing along to the hymn lyrics with me even though neither one of us is Catholic (we used the parish's pamphlet handout that had all the words).
Keep in mind that Simbang Gabi is a Catholic celebration, so when you go, be prepared to kneel and stand a lot. One congregation member (and fun local celebrity), Rey Pacua, was sitting behind me, and he poked me in the back when I was supposed to kneel. I was grateful for his helpful (ouch, haha) tip because my daughter and I would have been the only people in the parish not kneeling!
After the services, everyone went over to the historic Filipino Hall, about two blocks over from the parish. It was decorated inside with love and holiday cheer. There was a dessert and snack table, pulled pork, and authentic Filipino food including chicken adobo and rice, lumpia, and pancit.
Check out my photo gallery below to see the giant roasted pig!
What a beautiful cultural celebration to have been invited to! When you go next year, everyone will treat you like a cherished family member and make sure you get some good food for the soul, plus some warm and loving socialization.
DON'T FORGET TTO!
Remember, every Thursday, the Wapato Filipino Community Hall (211 W 2nd St, Wapato) serves delicious authentic Filipino food for lunch for takeout. It's so popular, customers drive from all over the Lower Valley just to buy a plate! It's called "Thursday Take Out" and you can purchase lunch at the window from 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Mahal kita, mahal na Filipino community ng Wapato!
The SIMBANG GABI MASS FEAST IN WAPATO on December 16, 2023
Gallery Credit: Reesha Cosby