Tag Archives: gasan

The Long Good Friday…

3 Apr

Float of a saint progressing in the Moriones Festival, Marinduque, The Philippines

100% Pope-approved. Moriones, Marinduque, Philippines.

Throughout history, and prehistory, festivals have provided the opportunity for misrule, orgies and drunkenness. And smart missionaries, whether Brahmans, Jesuits or Theravada Buddhists have always been fast to latch onto old-school pagan festivals and reskin them for the new religion.

But the Moriones, in Marinduque, the Philippines, provides a rare chance to see this process pretty close to the source. The Moriones, at its simplest, is a feast where spear-carrying men dress up in masks and helmets, paint or scarify their bodies, and pursue a scapegoat around the island before putting him (symbolically) to death.

So far, so Golden Bough. But back in 1807 some smart Jesuit clocked that the original festival refused to die, and pegged it onto Easter, and the legend not only of the crucifixion, but the centurion Longinus, murdered for his conversion to Christianity. And now, to the old mix, is added a procession of saintly floats. Continue reading