Posted by: buntuan72 | December 22, 2009

Dawn Masses

Simbang Gabi, Misa de Gallo, or Aguinaldo mass, whichever way you call it, it is one of the most unique Christmas tradition here in the Philippines. The dawn masses run is a novena or a devotion that Filipinos practice in preparation for the coming of the Lord. It starts nine days before Christmas day and is unique to Philippine culture. No other Catholic country in the world practices this Christmas tradition, although I heard has already been “exported” to other countries that have a big Filipino community.

According to, this Filipino tradition started during the Spanish period where the priests would celebrate early dawn masses for the farmers who need to attend to their crops but were given the opportunity to attend a nine-day novena mass during the Christmas season. These masses were held from 3:00 to 4:00 in the morning.

Today, this tradition is still being practice in the country where the Catholic faithful would fill churches to the brim each time December comes. The nine-day novena masses begin on December 16 with the last mass being celebrated on December 24. People share the belief that if you complete all nine days, you would have one wish granted after the nine days.

This is one of the traditions that I wait for each time Christmas comes. Although it would involve a good amount of sacrifice on my part, its worth it since this will be a good way for me to prepare for Christmas. I have been doing this for the past 16 years, although I was not able to complete the nine days half of the time.


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