Marinduque - Holy week
Lent is a time People flock to Marinduque to watch the Moriones Festival in a spectacular reenactment of the legend of Longinus. Moriones are passion plays Catholics see and participate to remember the cruxificion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. During the Lenten season numerous Passion Plays are performed as part of the celebrations.
The island of Marinduque prides itself as the "Lenten Capital of the Philippines". Come the seven days of Holy Week, the people of the island take part in the age-old ritual of the "Moriones" Festival.
Moriones Festival features colorful warrior costumes topped with finely carved masks depicting the fierce Roman soldiers of Christ's time. All these are done to depict the story of the conversion of Longuinus, the centurion who pierced Jesus' side - and his subsequent beheading.
Marinduque residents believed that Longinus was the Roman soldier who speared Christ's side when He was hanging on the Cross. Longinus was blind in one eye, but he regained his vision when Christ's blood dropped on his eye. Longinus was converted and believed in Christ. Later he told others what had happened but his fellow soldier’s turn against him. They arrested him, and beheaded him.
During the Moriones Festival reenactment, moriones chase Longinus for a long time. He is caught three times. He also escapes three times. When the moriones catch Longinus a fourth time, they march him to the scaffold, led by a brass band. After Longinus bravely confirms his faith in Christ, he is beheaded. His body is placed on a stretcher paraded around town, and taken to a church.
About the Holy Week/Cuaresma/Semana Santa
Holy Week is locally called Cuaresma or Semana Santa. The start of Holy Week is Palm Sunday. Catholics carry palm leaves, known as palaspas, to church for the priest to bless.
Catholics also celebrate Maundy Thursday, attending church services and watching Passion Plays. In one practice called visita iglesia, Catholics try to visit as many churches as they can.
Easter Sunday is a joyful occasion that starts with salubong, where the statues representing the Risen Christ and the Grieving Mother Mary are carried to meet at an appointed place and it’s conclusion of the holy week.
Moriones Festival Passion Plays
Among the most popular forms of literature, music and drama, during the Spanish times, were the various renditions and versions of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ, or the Pasyon Ni Kristo. This describes the way of Jesus towards his death and resurrection to a song.
The traditional sinakulo is a Lenten play in holy week, usually in verse, which narrates a long sequence of episodes from the Old and the New Testaments, with special emphasis on the life, sufferings and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Certain conventions of marching, chanting and magic are usually
Sinakulo scenes are presented on a proscenium-type stage of bamboo-and-wood or cement-and-steel; under light bulbs that cast an unyielding light instead of creating a mood and against painted cloth or paper backdrops, called telon.
It may take at least eight nights - from Palm Sunday to Easter
- to present the play.
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