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Simbang Gabi: The Christmas Tradition Goes on

Simbang Gabi is a series of nine dawn masses which begins on December 16th and ends on December 24th.  It usually starts as early as 4:00 in the morning and culminates with the midnight mass on Christmas Eve.  Churches all over the nation by now prepare to open the doors and welcome all the families and faithful followers of Jesus Christ to attend the Simbang Gabi.

Simbang Gabi was originally introduced by Spanish friars.  It was then known as Misa de Gallo or Mass of the Rooster.  Back then, church bells would ring at around 3:00 am to make people prepare for the 4:00 am dawn mass.

Whether you are living the city or in the province, this Christmas celebration continues to be celebrated by all families and devotees.   Most churches are decorated with Christmas ornaments such as vibrant lights and colorful “parol” lanterns to feel the Christmas spirit. During Simbang Gabi, a “Belen” or the nativity scene is assembled usually near the altar of the church as a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.  It is one of the highlights of Simbang Gabi.

After the mass, food stalls mushroom outside the church offering all-time favorite delicacies such as puto, bibingka, putobungbong, suman, and kutchinta. These traditional delicacies usually come with hot coffee or hot chocolate.  Hot pandesal is also offered.  It is then common to see to people carrying something in a paper pouch as they walk or ride home after the mass under the refreshing early morning breeze.

Simbang Gabi is not just a tradition that Filipinos devote their time during Christmas season. Simbang Gabi is a way of reconciling with the Lord and asking Him to shower each and everyone with grace and blessings.

On the side note, it is believed that if one completes the 9 mornings of Simbang Gabi, he or she will be granted her prevent wish.  If it is effective or not, it is the faith that keeps one closer to God and makes the blessings pour into his or her way.

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