Sunday, December 16, 2012
Our Very Own "Simbang Gabi"
It's Simbang Gabi or Night Mass, but it's held early morning which varies usually from 3:00 to 5:00 a.m., depending on a Roman Catholic parish church. In our parish for instance, the mass starts at 4:00 in the morning. Maybe it was termed "night" due to the fact that it's still dark in our place during those particular time. And according to trivia, the practice started when our country was under the Spanish regime, early mass were held for farmers so that they could still start early in planting in the fields and finish their tasks before noon.
It starts December 16 and ends on the 24th of the same month. The last day being celebrated before Christmas Eve, as we call it "Misa de Gallo" which means Rooster's Mass (the name originates from the Roman's association of the cockcrow to the start of the day, eve or midnight). But as practiced, we usually have the last Simbang Gabi mass at 10:00 p.m., to give the people ample time to go home and make their finishing touches in their Noche Buena preparations.
I was able to wake up early and attended the very first "Simbang Gabi" today. I should have been with my daughter, but she decided not to come in the last minute. As I arrived, the church was already congested, so I had no choice but to stay outside. After I said my prayers, I couldn't help but observed the people around. Some were asleep while standing but a lot were there to meet their friends and chat. It was a lot more of being festive rather than being solemn in prayer. It's not a bad thing though, but there's always a right place and time for everything.
After the mass, outside the church, one would find various Filipino delicacies like suman, biko, sapin-sapin, puto at kutsinta, cassava cake, bitsu-bitsu among others, made from "malagkit" or glutinous rice, cassava flour and other native ingredients. I was looking for "puto bumbong" but no one was selling at that time, there was "siomai" or steamed dumplings instead. As a lot of fast food chains and food cart businesses are opening in the city, so as the diversity of food. But a lot of Filipinos still go to what they were used to having especially during the season.
It's nearing Christmas and the days are moving fast, it's just like telling us that after all the trials we've been through, no matter how difficult it may seem, there's always hope. And for me, that's the very essence of Jesus' birth. Yahweh bless.