The Lenten season touches the hearts of many, so does the story of the Moriones festival. Its origin emerged from the story of Christ’s crucifixion. A Roman soldier, Longinus, who was blind in one eye, pierced the side of Jesus on the cross. The blood that spurted out of Christ’s side touched his blind eye and fully restored his sight. Receiving such a wonderful miracle made Longinus convert himself into Christianity.
The Moriones festival is held in the island of Marinduque. This weeklong celebration re-enacts the story of Longinus in pantomime. Morion means mask, which is a part of medieval Roman armor that covers the face. The celebration starts on Holy Monday and ends on Easter Sunday.
The festival is given life by the colorful Roman warrior costumes, painted masks and helmets, and brightly colored tunics. Various islands that comprise Marinduque becomes one gigantic stage for this festival.
Although the moriones festival is considered a celebration, Marinduque still honors the Lenten season through the traditional way. A pabasa or the reading of Christ’s passion in verse is still entailed.
One of the highlights of this festival is the Via Crucis. A re-enactment of the suffering of Christ on his way to the calvary. Men inflict suffering upon themselves by whipping their backs, carrying a wooden cross and sometimes even crucifixion. They see this act as their form of atonement for their sins.
The Moriones festival is a way to bring back people closer to god. An event that shouldn’t be missed; set off to the island of Marinduque and join tourists, natives and locals in the Lenten season to honor God and to enjoy the festivities after a week of humbleness.