Christmas marks the most significant and blissful festival in the Christian calendar as it commemorates the birth anniversary of Jesus Christ. For this reason, it is celebrated with much fervor and gaiety across the world. As such, preparations begin months before the occasion even arrives with everyone busy shopping for new clothes, decorations, and groceries to display the most attractive Christmas ever had by them. Markets and stores are flooded with all sorts of Christmas symbols, the most significant of them being Christmas trees, stars, wreaths, Santa Claus, snowmen, reindeer, canes, and so on. But before everyone indulges in the celebrations and festivities of Christmas on 25 December, they attend the midnight mass that is held on Christmas Eve on December 24.
The midnight mass is one of the four masses conducted by all churches, the other three being the vigil, the Mass at dawn, and Mass during day. The midnight mass marks the birth of Christ on earth. Hence, it is considered as the most sacred occasion in the whole year. At 12 midnight on 24 December, the church starts the prayers and carols to announce the birth of Jesus Christ. Midnight Masses are performed and carried out in different ways in different parts of the world. Every region has its own customs associated with this ancient tradition. In North America, the Midnight Mass includes celebrating Holy Communion with family and friends, candles lit carol services, and ringing of bells at midnight. In Israel, an annual procession is carried out from Jerusalem to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. In Vatican City, Midnight Mass services are headed by the Pope. During Masses, messages of love and redemption are spread out. People, in large numbers, pray for the well being of mankind and thank god for Jesus Christ's sacrifices made and messages of love and peace spread out.
This article gives us the details on the origin and purpose of Midnight Mass.