Saturday, December 15, 2012

Start Of Simbang Gabi (Night Masses)

In preparation for the incoming celebration of the birth of Christ, Filipinos (like me) have always looked forward to attanding "Simbang Gabi" (which is literally translated in English to "Night Masses"). Sometimes it is also referred to as Misa de Aguinaldo (Gift Mass), while others prefer Misa de Gallo (Mass of the Early-Morning Rooster), although this term is applied by most to the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, which is the culmination of the novena that begins every 16th of December. Tomorrow is the start of the 9 day novena and people will be heading off to the nearby churches as the dawn breaks.

“Simbang Gabi” has been a tradition that has been passed on from generations to generations. This is also a time for the family to pray together and bond. People usually wake up at around 3am to attend the first mass at 4am. Church schedules are now pretty flexible as there are some churches that offer anticipated mass at night instead of early dawn, which works for people like me who usually goes off to work early. Then after the last day of Simbang Gabi, which happens to be Christmas Eve, families gather in their homes to celebrate Noche Buena and feasts on various delicacies like queso de bola, bibingka, puto bungbong, or a drink of salabat or hot chocolate.

This is how a typical fisrt day of Simbang gabi looks like, jam packed

Fondest memories left by Lola were the times when we used to go to church together and almost all of her friends were there and everyone was so nice plus there was  this wonderful feeling of the Christmas Yuletide and everyone singing Christmas songs and all the happy faces. Christmas will always be special and having to celebrate it with the people you love adds more meaning to the occasion.

Tomorrow will be the first day of Simbang Gabi and I am looking forward to going to church with Jon and the kids.

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