Thursday, December 23, 2010

Simbang Gabi/Misa de Gallo: Prepping up for Christmas

Having practically most of my relatives abroad, being an Overseas Filipino Workers' daughter, and my own inquisitive nature, I've practically stumbled with some knowledge regarding the different Christmas traditions around the world.

Having said that, I would like to patronize my own country's famous tradition. Since this blog is about faith, Franciscanism and FYM. I would like to pay tribute to one of the famous and most attended tradition in our country, the Philippines - "The Simbang Gabi" and "Misa de Gallo" (Mass of the Rooster).

Castillian Origin

If there was one thing that the Spanish Friars did that was good (knowing what happened in our Philippine History), it is the 9-day Novena also known as "The Simbang Gabi" and "Misa de Gallo".

Typically, "Simbang Gabi" is referred to those masses to prepare our spirits for the coming masses.  This begins every December 16 around 4:00am or 4:30am, as it is also known as the dawn masses. Everything then culminates to a more apt term Misa de Gallo the Grand Midnight Mass on Christmas eve, a few hours before Christmas Day itself. This tradition started with the intentions of having farmers go to Mass before they go to do their work in the field.

During the earlier days, at around 3:00 am, the church bells begin to ring to wake people up to prepare them for these dawn masses. 

Personal Prerogative

Oftentimes, people would go to these masses but because of the early hours some ended up not completing them.

In the end, it's a personal prerogative. We were all given the freedom to do what we want to do. But, hopefully we one of the things we ought to do is to prepare for the coming of Christ.

I'm not saying that it is compulsory to do those 9-day Novena masses, but hopefully we do prepare ourselves spiritually for the coming of Christ and not just do traditions simply because we grew up with them.

But right now, Simbang Gabi/Misa de Gallo is a great way to prep up for the Big Day as sacrifices of waking up for 9 days could be taxing but the joy of knowing we are waiting for a Blessed Moment, the Birth of Christ, is something worth waiting for.

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