Filipino Catholic faithful in the northern town of Paoay in the province of Ilocos Norte dance and get drunk a day before Ash Wednesday to prepare themselves for the season of Lent.
The “Guling-guling” festival offers free drinks and food to everyone.
It traces its roots to the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines when Spanish missionaries celebrate “Shrove Tuesday” and clear cupboards of flour and oil to make pancakes.
Filipino natives adapted the practice by preparing rice flour that they used to paint their foreheads.
The practice is called “guling-guling,” a symbol of cleansing before Lent.
Historians say the celebration was started by Spanish missionaries in the 16th century as a way of interacting with parishioners.
The town mayor marks people’s foreheads with rice flour, a symbol of purity. The missionaries explained that with those who get the mark are cleansed of all their sins.
People then dance and later drink with those they have had difference as a sign of forgiveness and reconciliation.
After the merrymaking comes the fasting on Ash Wednesday when townsfolk pray for deliverance from sins and for good harvest.
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