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Wednesday, December 22, 2004
SIMBANG GABI lasts for nine consecutive days
beginning December 16. Traditionally, it is
held at dawn, but some parishes anticipated
masses one night in advance. This religious
event dates back to the time when Miguel Lopez
de Legazpi celebrated the first feast of the
Nativity in 1565 in the Philippine Archipelago.

SIMBANG GABI traces its roots in Mexico when in
Mexico, Fray Diego de Soria, friar of the Convent of
San Agustin Acolman, petitioned the Pope for permission
to hold Christmastide masses outdoors because the church
could not accomodate the multitide that attended the dawn
service. When the request was granted, the masses became
known as Misa de Aguinaldo.

It was in the 16th century when Pope Sixtus V decried
that these pre-dawn masses be also held in the Philippines
starting December 16. The decree was in keeping with the
nine-day traditional festivals of Filipino in celebrating
auspicious occasions like harvest time. It was also meant
to give farmers a chance to hear mass before setting out
for the fields. Rural Filipinos were used to starting the
day two hours before sunrise.

Church bells resound to call the faithful to Simbang Gabi.
In some provinces, brass bands play traditional Christmas music
and parish would go as fast as knocking on the doors of every home.
After the nine-day Simbang Gabi, follows the
Misa de Gallo (Mass of the Rooster).
This is held midnight of December 24 to welcome the birth
of the Savior. In some churches, the Panunuluyan,
depicting Mary and Joseph's efforts to find a suitable birthplace,
is reenacted and the baby Jesus first makes his appearnace in
the manger of the Belen, the Nativity scene.

The Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo
is a treasured Filipino tradition. It carries with it the best
of the Filipino culture; a faith that is willing to endure
sacrifices; the gathering of families to share simple joys;
and the celebration of the birth of the savior.

(abstracted from PILIPINASMAGAZINE/2.0)

posted by infraternam meam @ 4:16 AM  
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Name: infraternam meam
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About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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