Ten exciting days before Christmas, and tomorrow marks the first day of Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo here in the Philippines. Misa de Gallo roughly means rooster’s mass, not because it was meant for our feathered friends, but because this mass was celebrated very early in the morning, before the sun rose and the roosters crowed.
Nine days before Christmas, we wake up early to the sound of church bells ringing, and we walk/travel to church to attend mass. Filipinos believe that if you complete the nine days of Simbang Gabi, you can make a wish and it will be granted.
When I was younger, I was thankful that our neighbor’s panabong (fighting cock) would start crowing at 4AM. I didn’t have any alarm clock back then and I faithfully attended Simbang Gabi wishing that I would get the Christmas gift I wanted. The Philippines in my youth was not so westernized. I really thought Santa was just a mascot, especially since we had no snow or reindeers here. For me, the one who really grants wishes was God and the babe in the manger.
I have so much to be grateful for this year. We survived the terrible flood of Ondoy, friends and family helped us out to get back on our feet again, and my sister gave birth to a lovely baby girl. I couldn’t wish for anything more. If I would have a wish, it would be for good health, peace of mind, and happiness. I don’t have enough cash to buy gifts, but I know I could cook something or bake some cookies or brownies and give that out this Christmas.
Tomorrow when the rooster crows, I hope I wake up early to attend mass.
Now here are some recipes that I would like to make for Christmas