The Moriones is an annual festival held on Holy Week on the island of Marinduque, Philippines. The "Moriones" are men and women in costumes and masks replicating the garb of biblical Roman soldiers as interpreted by local folks. The Moriones or Moryonan tradition has inspired the creation of other festivals in the Philippines where cultural practices or folk history is turned into street festivals.
The Moriones Festival is known widely as one of the most colorful festivals celebrated on the island of Marinduque and the Philippines. 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. Morions roam the streets in town from Holy Monday to Easter Sunday scaring the kids, or engaging in antics or surprises to draw attention. This is a folk-religious festival that re-enacts the story of Saint Longinus, a Roman centurion who was blind in one eye. 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.Then at 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. 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. This weeklong celebration starts on Holy Monday and ends on Easter Sunday.
The term "Moriones" was concocted by the media in the 60s, but local inhabitants have kept the original term, "Moryonan". Many practitioners are farmers and fishermen who engage in this age-old tradition as a vow of penance or thanksgiving. Legend 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.
In Valencia, Spain, there is an identical celebration called Festival de Moros y Cristianos (Moors and Christians Festival). It is almost certain that the word "Moriones" was derived from "Moros". Another possible derivation is from the Spanish word "murió" (root:morir) meaning death. The origin of the festival is traced to Mogpog and the year 1807 when the parish priest of said town, Fr. Dionisio Santiago, organized it for the first time.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moriones_Festival
Umpisa pa lamang ng Lunes Santo, ang mga mamamayang nagtitika ay nagsusuot ng mga damit na mistulang sundalo sa sinaunang Roma o senturyon. Ang kanilang matitingkad na costume gayun din ang makukulay na mga maskara ay nakakapagbigay ng paniniwala na sila ay matatapang at malulupit na mga sundalo. Sa kanilang paglibot, sila ay gumagawa ng mga practical jokes sa mga lokal o di kaya ay tinatakot ang mga bata. Ang iba naman ay nagiiba ng boses na mistulang tinig ng ibon. Kasama sa pagpepenitensya nila ay ang pagitiis na maglakad at maglibot sa buong bayan sa ilalim ng matinding sikat ng araw. Ang kagawiang ito ay ang pagsasadula sa paghahanap ng mga senturyon kay Longinus.
Ayon sa alamat, si Longinus, isa sa mga sundalong bulag ang isang mata at nakasaksi sa pagpapako ni Hesukristo ay ibinaon ang kaniyang espada sa tagiliran ni Hesukristo upang matiyak na siya ay tunay na patay na. Tumilamsik ang dugo sa matang hindi nakakakita ni Longinus at himalang ito ay biglang gumaling at nakakita. Dahil dito, siya ay nagbalik-loob at naging isang Kristiyano.
Hinabol ng mga sundalo si Longinus sa buong kabayanan hanggang siya ay nahuli at hinarap sa isang aktor na tumayo bilang si Ponsyo Pilato. Ang iba ay tumayo bilang mga Pariseo upang husgahan siya at noong Pasko ng Pagkabuhay, si Longinus ay hinatulan sa kaniyang pagbabago ng relihiyon sa pamamagitan ng pagpugot.