December 13, 2016

Expats’ Guide to Simbang Gabi

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  • In the Philippines, they say that if you complete the 9 morning masses leading up to Christmas, your wishes will come true. This tradition is called the Simbang Gabi or Rooster’s Mass.


    SIMBANG GABI. A tradition of the Filipinos upon anticipating Christmas.

    Simbang Gabi (sometimes also called Misa de Gallo), is a tradition observed in the Philippines wherein people go to mass as early as 4:00 am from December 16 up to December 25 for a series of novena masses anticipating Christmas day. Although not scientifically proven, it has been said that this tradition will “grant the mass goers’ wishes” if he/she is able to complete the 9 days of Simbang Gabi.

    Sometimes, Simbang Gabi is celebrated at nighttime in churches to accommodate people who cannot attend the early morning mass. Before the start of the mass, the holy rosary is to be prayed. The mass usually focuses on anticipating Christmas, highlighting the birth of Jesus. After the Eucharistic celebration, people go to the streets to buy popular Christmas delicacies such as puto bumbong (purple rice roll steamed in bamboo tube topped with grated coconut and sugar) and bibingka (bread-like food cooked in clay pots).


    Puto bumbong. Image grabbed from Entrepreneur Philippines


    Bibingka. Image grabbed from Executive Gourmet PH

    In other countries where there are Filipinos, there are also churches which do the tradition of Simbang Gabi. This keeps the tradition alive in places outside Philippines, where there are Filipinos who still want to observe the tradition they used to do back here in the Philippines.


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