Saturday, June 18, 2011

Experience the Moriones Festival

Moriones Festival is a very popular festival in the Philippines. The festival is the most unique festival in the world. The Moriones festival is celebrated in Marinduque every Holy Week. The festival depicts the martyrdom of St. Longinus. It was believed that St. Longinus, a Roman soldier who pierced Jesus Christ's side on the crucifixion.

One of the most colorful festivals celebrated in the island of Marinduque is the Moriones Festival. Morion means "mask" or "visor," a part of the medieval Roman armor which covers the face. Moriones, on the other hand, refers to the masked and costumed penitents who march around the town for seven days searching for Longinus. This week-long celebration starts on Holy Monday and culminates on Easter Sunday when the story of Longinus is reenacted in pantomime. This is a folk-religious festival that re-enacts the story of Longinus, a Roman centurion who was blind in one eye.

The Moriones are the Marinduqueños in colorful costumes and masks replicating the garb of Roman soldiers. The act of donning this attire and roaming the streets in town in the heat of the sun is done during Lent as a form of yearly penance by natives of Marinduque. Many practitioners are local farmers or fishermen. The artistic and colorful attires and masks worn are unique expressions of folk art and local ingenuity.

The practice originated from the town of Mogpog a closely knit community which continues to establish itself as a religious center in the province. Here the practice having been made an integral part of Lenten church rituals for over a hundred years, has undergone very little change.


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