Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo - (December 16 ~ 24)

Tomorrow, December 16, marks the start of Simbang Gabi or popularly known as Misa de Gallo, that’s 9th day before Christmas.

Misa de Gallo is the Spanish phrase for Midnight mass, more literally translated as "Rooster's Mass". This novena of Masses is the most important Filipino Christmas tradition. It is the blending Christian tradition with the harvest thanksgiving of the ancient Filipinos. This is also one of the longest and most popular traditions in the country.

Traditionally, the Simbang Gabi begins as early as 4 o'clock in the morning as the first cockcrows heard and the bells of the Roman Catholic churches ring so loud enough to awaken the parishioners. It is a customary belief during the olden times that a rooster, noted for its early morning crow, would be the first to witness the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas day.

Going to Mass this early for nine consecutive days is meant to show the devotion and faith to God. Songs of the season are played everywhere to warm the hearts of the churchgoers. Usually, during the first day mass, there is a re-enactment showing the effort of Joseph and Mary to find a suitable birthplace for Jesus.

After hearing Mass, the parishioners headed off to the native delicacies stand where vendors sell popular Philippine traditional foods such as bibingka, puto bumbong, tsokolate, salabat.

Therefore, it is truly evidence that the changing of times with the advent of new technologies does not break the preservation of the century-old tradition - Misa de Gallo. It has become one of the most accepted traditions particularly to children in the country.

It is the time where we mostly feel the presence of the Lord because it is the spiritual preparation for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. It does not matter whether you completed the 9-day novena or not, what really matters is what’s inside your heart and the character of the person who receives the Lord’s blessing.

Meery Christmas to all!!

Video credit: pavlovspielt/YouTube

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