MANILA, Philippines – It is December 16 once again, and it is the usual day that Filipinos start their Simbang Gabi (Night Mass or Midnight Mass).
For those wondering what Simbang Gabi is, this is a religious ritual done annually during Christmas when Catholics attend mass daily at early dawn or late night to prepare for the birthday of Jesus Christ.
They usually complete the 10–day mass culminating in the Christmas Day mass on December 25.
Puto-bumbong and bibingka (native cakes) are usually sold outside the church. The smell of these delicious foods always reminds Filipinos of Christmas and Simbang Gabi.
Christmas is about “Christ” because it is his birthday. The spiritual meaning of this momentous day should be emphasized so the celebrations would be more meaningful.
Nowadays, Christmas is so commercialized that some people associate it with gifts and grandiose celebrations; if they do not have these, then they assume they are unlucky, hence, they feel unhappy.
The spiritual meaning of Christmas should be emphasized and the ritual of giving and receiving gifts should be placed in the proper perspective.
Today, Simbang Gabi has started. May the true spirit of Christmas reign in everyone’s heart.