Today, I want to share my experience about this Filipino praxis that is being observed every year by all Roman Catholics in our country. This tradition is a 9-day series of masses (termed Misa de Gallo) practiced by Filipino Catholics before Christmas and it starts on December 16.
I have been participating in these early morning masses since I was a child, but I never had the chance to complete it because (1) I was just a kid (2) I had no interest to it. By the time I reached high school, I became more aware of this tradition and my pious mother would always reiterate the importance of attending these masses as an obligation, as a Catholic. Unfortunately, I was not mature and dedicated enough that time for such “obligations”. When I reached college, I was even more hopeless since my participation was seen/observed as every so often to almost never. No one questioned that since I was a sleep-deprived, stressed out nursing student back then. It’s either I was on a taxing duty completing my cases or I’d gone to bed dog-tired because of classes/duty. When I started working, I hardly had time to participate in this because of my workloads and shifting schedule.
Fortunately this year, after my lifetime-attempts to take part in the Misa de Gallo, I have successfully completed the nine days of early morning masses for the first time and it was such a fulfilling and satisfying experience. On the first day, I was so overwhelmed and exhilarated I had no idea that it would be in fact, challenging. I had to wake up early to secure a comfortable spot inside the church since the seats were always occupied easily. (But if you are not a morning person, then you are for the Simbang Gabi. It usually starts at 5:30 or 6:00 in the afternoon. Many prefer this because it’s more convenient. The Misa de Gallo Mass usually starts at exactly 4am.) At first, it was hard to wake up at this time of the night, but thanks to my fucked up sleeping pattern, I was able to get through. I always wake up two hours before 4am because I find it just right for my preparation. Yes, preparation. One thing that I have not realized is that it would be a challenge to my wardrobe! I was surprised AND delighted to see how people, especially teens, were moved by the exigent demand to wear something nice, catchy and unique everyday. Stressful, isn’t it? As for me, I am not really a trendsetter, so I chose to wear something comfortable-big thanks to Pinterest for the speedy outfit tips and stratagem that I always find useful in times of quandary. Hahaha!
Also, during this time, there is one popular notion that if you finish the 9-day early morning masses, your wishes will come true. I still don’t know if this is true, but it really doesn’t matter. I believe that God answers all our prayers in time and in a way that’s best for us. 😉
This is truly the simplest, yet most memorable Christmas that I have had in my life so far. The celebration that we had this year was not really grand and festive, but it gave us a fair feeling of happiness and contentment. It was just simple, but nevertheless meaningful and I’m happy that I get to accomplish something worthy before this year ends. I hope you all had a wonderful one as well. 🙂
Merry Christmas, dear bloggers and may you all have a prosperous new year!