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Posts Tagged ‘Simbang Gabi’


Last night was the start of our yearly Simbang Gabi or Dawn mass.  Back in the days, it used to be called Rooster Mass because  4am or 5am were usually when the rooster in your neighborhood crows.  Simbang Gabi is a beautiful nine-day novena masses in Thanksgiving for all the blessing one received in the year. It’s traditional for us Filipino Catholics. I think it is only in the Philippines where you could find this. Times has changed, nowadays these Simbang Gabi are celebrated early, usually the night before the next day to give way for those who want to attend the novena after office.  They are also brought to some malls where they are celebrated at noon and most offices also hold these masses during lunch break.

I was overjoyed seeing the Pope opening the Simbang Gabi tradition. The mass readings were read in Tagalog  but there was a translator in English. Even the songs were sung in Tagalog  by the Filipino community. I’d like to think we are special because they have adapted one of the lovely traditions in our Catholic life.

Although our country is now in the brink of…..how do you put it….the ship is sinking fast because of these non-performing powers that be in our government, I still have high hopes that this will end eventually and we will rise up again. It may just take one brave soul to start it, right now though, we are at the mercy of one man who holds everything from the Supreme Court to the Legislative Branch to our National Police down to the barangay level. I need not elaborate, perhaps you also read them online.

I digress.

We were talking about Simbang Gabi, right? There are many churches now and several congregations too that televise the celebration of the nine-day novena masses. They end the day before Christmas day.

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It’s a little windy outside but just perfect for the second night of Simbang Gabi. The Gospel speaks of the genealogy of Jesus.  There is really no perfect family.  The flaws are there, glaring at you at times  but you learn to accept them in your life.  We often make mistakes but our families  are  there to support us. We often encounter failures but our families are there to lift us up.   Most of the time we are unlovable but still our families love us.

Family and genetics play a big role on how are lives are shaped. When we speak of families, it’s not just the family we were born  to but also those friends who consider us as their own.   They say that blood is thicker than water but it is not always the case. There are times when our closest friends act as our families too.  The beauty of a positive family relationship lies  in the   way we were taught by our elders,  how respect  is inculcated in each one of us. The way we think, act, and feel are greatly influenced by our family.

Nabuhay ang Diyos para maging anak tayo ng Diyos. This is one emphasis I learned from the mass tonight.  God was born for us so we could be children of God.  It may be hard to understand. As baptized Christians, we are now a part of  the genealogy of  Christ.

I’ve checked my dashboard lately and I only have 28% left of my allowed space. Sigh 😦  Maybe I shouldn’t be posting more pictures so I can utilize it well.  Most of my latest photos posted here are downsized  from their original higher  resolutions. This is my 1,890th post by the way and I am glad I’ve reached  a total of 443,307 as I write this.   It is hard to build a number of visits when you are not blogging every day.  and it is also quite hard to think of  varied subjects to write about.  I value every comment and like you post on my blog.   I also consider them as blessings to my blogging journey.  I am  also glad to have found more  online friends lately.  You may visit my new blog if you have time and consider following it too. It’s called Dreams Never End. It is a little different from this one because almost  every post is accompanied by a photo.

Salamat.

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Just attended the first Simbang Gabi at our village chapel. What a beautiful celebration of the mass.  Simbang Gabi which means  “Night Mass”,  Misa de Gallo in Spanish or “Rooster’s Mass”, or Misa de Aguinaldo, “Gift Mass”  is a novena of dawn Masses from December 16-24  which is  Christmas Eve.  It’s a lovely and unique celebration of attending masses which is normally held at dawn  but the Church allows it to be celebrated a little earlier the night before like tonight.  We witnessed the lighting of the Christmas tree inside the chapel and the lighting of the  Christmas Belen  before the mass started.

Christmas celebration in our country is replete with these  age-old traditions which we inherited from our ancestors.  Dawn masses are usually held at 4am  and start on December 16.  We wait for the nine days till Christmas day.  You are blessed if you complete the nine novena masses because they say that you can ask and pray for certain favors  and they will be given to you.

It’s actually almost nine days to go before Christmas. what is more fitting in honoring the Christ Child by offering this novena. Sometimes in the frenzy of preparing for Christmas, we simply forget what it means, the birth of our Saviour.  We are more focused on the material side of  celebrating Christmas –  giving gifts, preparing for Noche Buena feast, parties here and there, office parties everywhere and  lots and lots of Christmas decor in our homes and on the streets.

But what is Christmas without all these? Here’s a beautiful meditation on Jesus’ nativity from Pope Benedict XVI.

“In the birth of Jesus,
God comes to us and
asks us to receive
Him, so that He can
be born in our lives
and transform them,
and our world, by the
power of his love.

The
Christmas liturgy also
invites us to
contemplate Christ’s
birth against the
backdrop of his
paschal mystery.
Christmas points
beyond itself, to the
redemption won for
us on the Cross and
the glory of the
Resurrection.”

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Tonight in some chapels and malls is the third night of Simbang Gabi (Night Mass). It’s also called Misa de Gallo. Over the years, it was simply called Simbang Gabi.  Since not all Catholics could attend the early morning mass at 4am,  they attend Anticipated Masses the night before. Even in offices, they have noon masses to keep up with this lovely tradition of celebrating novena  (nine days of masses/prayers).  It officially starts on December 16 and ends on Christmas eve. Christmas would not be Christmas without celebrating Simbang Gabi, the most festive being the Christmas Eve mass. Noche Buena  usually follows, a midnight special dinner with the family.The table is laden with  sweets, cakes, embutido (our own version of sausage), lumpiang shanghai, fried or roast chicken, hot chocolate, pancit, you name it but it usually depends on one’s budget for the season.

Finally done shopping for gifts for  the family and a few close friends. Gifts are wrapped and put on a table. We didn’t put up the  Christmas tree, for me having the Belen or Nativity set is more in keeping with the season.  It’s after all Jesus’ birth that we celebrate. Sometimes we forget the reason for the celebration. Did I say, it’s barely eight days to go before Christmas?

I searched the net for some new recipes that I could prepare on Christmas day, nothing elaborate but easy to cook meals that the family and I could share – callos, siomai, pasta, potato or macaroni salad. Josef loves gelatin so I will make a gelatin cake, the more colorful, the better. I am thinking of baking cookies this coming weekend to give to neighbors.

How do you celebrate Christmas?

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