Tao Inner Smile

"Moriones Festival is one of the most colorful festivals
in Marinduque, Philippines"
- Zenaida J. Serrano

 

Moriones Festival, Marinduque, Philippines

Moriones FestivalOne of the Philippines most Colorful Festival

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.

LonginusLegend has it that Longinus pierced the side of the crucified Christ. The blood that spurted forth touched his blind eye and fully restored his sight. This miracle converted Longinus to Christianity and earned the ire of his fellow centurions. The re-enactment reaches its climax when Longinus is caught and beheaded.

The festival is characterized by colorful Roman costumes, painted masks and helmets, and brightly-colored tunics. The towns of Boac, Gasan, Santa Cruz, Buenavista and Mogpog in the island of Marinduque become one gigantic stage.

The observances form part of the Lenten celebrations of Marinduque. The various towns also hold the unique tradition of the pabasa or the recitation of Christ's passion in verse. The Via Crucis is also reenacted and flagellants, known as antipos, inflict suffering upon themselves as a form of atonement. After three o'clock on Good Friday afternoon, the Santo Sepulcro is observed, whereby old women exchange verses based on the Bible as they stand in wake of the dead Christ.

Did you know that

Morion means mask, which is part of the medieval Roman centurionís helmet. Moriones are the masked penitents who take part in the reenactment of the legend of Longinus, and Passion of the Christ.

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April 14, 2004 © Ricardo B. Serrano, R.Ac.