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Simbang Gabi means “Evening Mass”

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For Filipinos who are Catholic, they will celebrate Simbang Gabi mean, meaning “night mass” or “evening mass” or “Misa de Gallo” (rooster’s mass). It is a nine day novena in honor of Mary the Mother of Jesus Christ the Savior. It is celebrated by going to mass everyday from the 16th of December  to Christmas eve December 24th. Most churches celebrate the mass at dawn. When I was growing up we usually go to church at 4 am. Still sleepy at first, sleepiness would be gone after the mass starts.  We had to go with my family. We enjoyed seeing our other families there too.

Simbang-Gabi

Simbang-Gabi

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In the Philippines, most streets that lead to the church are lit up with Christmas lights or lanterns (parol), the lights I guess are signifying the star that led the wise men to the birth of Jesus Christ. In our province when I was growing up after the mass the church had a bit food at the back. After the mass, any church goers can partake the snacks. It’s for everyone. Not sure now though if some small church still do that kind of thing.

For you people that live near the catholic church. Have you noticed the church bell keeps ringing from the early hours during this time of Evening Mass? The church will keep ringing that bell for people to rise up from sleep in preparation for the Simbang Gabi. Some churches start the bell ringing at 2:00 am, and don’t be surprised if a band might roam around your street / neighborhood for a celebration and to wake you up.

Our helper goes to church now and she really goes everyday. She told me that at the churches she goes to  it’s overflowing with people. That’s why she goes earlier for her to get a place to sit down. She told me that it’s mostly the whole family that attends the mass. Some families after church will have breakfast together and eat the Filipino delicacies.

I think in Manila they have mass during night time. Honestly Simbang gabi should be celebrated at night. Just by the name alone Simbang Gabi means “Evening Mass”, it should be during night time. Some churches here in Mindanao might celebrates during night time and I’m just not aware of it. When I studied in Cebu back in the 1980’s, they celebrates Simbang Gabi there during dawn too. This celebration could be regional, but I’m not totally sure of it though. If you or your church celebrates during night time here in the Mindanao and the Visayas to drop us a note here.

I think Filipinos in the USA also attend Simbang Gabi. I think Filipino priest there have Simbang Gabi mass. I think in California area they do have Simbang Gabi. They welcome everyone that wants to attend the mass. Check at your local parish church if they have. I would not be surprised if some areas in Europe have Simbang Gabi too, especially if they have many Filipino people in the area and with a Filipino priest that lives there that might be easily approved by the head of the church in your area.

Enjoy attending the Simbang Gabi with your family. Lets pray for peace and love for this holiday season. Hope everyone will have a good Christmas celebration and have a great New Year ahead too. Praying for our troops that fought for our freedom. Have a safe celebration everyone.

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!!

 

Feyma

Feyma Martin is a Columnist here on the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine, she is the wife of site Publisher, Bob Martin. Feyma is originally from the Philippines, but went to the USA for 10 years after marrying Bob in 1990. Bob & Feyma moved to the Philippines to live permanently in 2000.

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Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson(@paul-thompson)
5 years ago

Feyma; As a teenager in the early 1960’s on Christmas Eve as I’d head out the door of our house in the Dorchester section of Boston, my folks would shout; “Paul be home by eleven” Not tonight dear parents, me and the gang (Not what gang means today) are going to MIDNIGHT MASS.” I’d reply. But here’s the truth, they’d sooner see Santa on the roof then me or my friends sitting in a pew at Saint Ann’s Church on Neponsit Ave. We were at a party and sinning. In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti (Amen) And a… Read more »

Lenny
Lenny
5 years ago

I remember the drive in theaters on Easter and Xmas Eve..Sunrise Mass

Ben
Ben
5 years ago

The older I get the more agnostic I’ve become.
Does prayer help the world ?
I have my doubts , but who ever has faith that’s their choice and if helps them come to terms with this world more power to them

Mark Kuivenhoven
5 years ago

We have here in hawaii on the Big Island at night

Feyma Bayoy Martin
5 years ago

Good to know Mark. Thanks for sharing the info!

queeniebee5
queeniebee5
5 years ago

Hi Feyma,

Simbang gabi mass starts at 4AM here in Cebu province. Later you can see people riding home from mass on motorcycles and in multicabs carrying their own plastic chairs and stools. It’s always packed during mass, so they bring their own seating.

Queenie

Joyz Stecklein
5 years ago

I do really miss Simbang Gabi back home.I had fun being in the Church Choir???⛪️Miss those days

Feyma Bayoy Martin
5 years ago
Reply to  Joyz Stecklein

Hi Joyz, I understand your feelings. Maybe soon you can come back for a visit during the holidays. Take care!

Joyz Stecklein
5 years ago
Reply to  Joyz Stecklein

Thank you Feyma, that’s my goal?I wan’t my husband to experience Christmas in the Philippines.And my next vacation will be on Christmas time??(God willing)By the way,Merry Christmas in advance?

Denzil Browne
5 years ago

Also here in bahrain

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