Christmas season in the Philippines starts right at ber months when you can hear the festive songs of Mariah Carey and Jose Marie Chan and see many colorful lanterns in your neighboring houses. But every 16th of December is a whole different vibe; it kickstarts the nine-day mass series called simbang gabi, which Filipinos mostly attend until Christmas eve. Some churches conduct this at dawn, while some at night. The catch: Your wish will come true if you complete your nine-day attendance.
To relieve your excitement, here are the most relatable scenarios and favorites during simbang gabi.
Reuniting with Friends
The last weeks may be hectic for some, but simbang gabi can be your excuse to reunite with your friends. It’s always fun to be with those who are also trying to complete their attendance. While you’re at it, take a group photo for a memento too!
Planning Your Church-Friendly #OOTD
That December chill suddenly makes us want to dust off our hoodies that are long stored in our closets. Dressing up during simbang gabi is okay because it brings out your confidence and personality and shows respect to the church. Remember, you can present yourselves however you’re comfortable with, as long as it’s not the skimpiest!
Buying Sampaguita flowers
The garlands of our national flower are an ordinary sight in catholic churches, especially during simbang gabi. It symbolizes love and devotion. People usually buy them as ornaments for the rear-view mirrors of cars and offerings for religious figures at home.
Devouring After-Mass Delicacies
Is it really simbang gabi if there’s no Christmas food? Churchgoers usually await the food stalls outside the church that sells various rice cakes. Among these are bibingka, puto bungbong, suman, sapin-sapin, kutsinta, muron and more. They almost taste different when you eat them after the mass, and it feels like your reward for attending. I mean, who can resist them?
Beyond the bibingkas and the bonding experience this Filipino culture brings, let this be a reminder that it is also a devotional practice of our faith to keep the Christmas tradition alive.
With only a few days left, are you ready for simbang gabi?
Ronnabelle goes by the nickname, Ron; a queer introvert who loves to learn new things on her own. Has a passion in graphic design and writing, and is interested in niches like food, anime, and pop culture.