What is the origin of the Spanish Easter costume

If you are here to ask yourself if the Spanish Easter costumes have any relation with the KKK the answer is not. I will explain in this blog the origin of the Easter costumes in Spain and the processions.

If you want to learn more about Easter in Spain, please click the button.

La Semana Santa (Holy Week or Easter Week in Spanish)

Easter in Spain is one of the most important holidays in Spain. If you have been lucky enough to watch one of the Easter processions in Spain, you may have spotted people dressed in robes with coned hats and hoods. For many people, the first thing that comes to mind when they see them is the Ku Klux Klan, however as I said before, there is no connection. Allow us to explain a bit about the history and origin of the costume that the nazarenos wear.

Nazarenos en verde el miercoles santo Vejer de la frontera, Cadiz, Spain Explore la Tierra Semana santa easter week

La Semana Santa Easter Processions in Spain

Easter Sunday in Spain is preceded by an entire week of celebrations, known as La Semana Santa (“Holy Week”). During the week, processions take place, beginning at churches. The highlight of the processions are the “Pasos”. These are large sculptures depicting scenes from the Bible, which are carried on the shoulders of people throughout the city/village for hours. Here in Vejer de la Frontera, they last around 4 hours.

The processions are slow marches through a village or city starting at a church or cathedral. Large bands follow many of the “Pasos”, playing traditional Easter music. The pasos are led by the Nazarenos, the people in the robes and coned hats.

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Who are the people in robes?

The Nazarenos wear the pointed hats (known as capirotes) and robes. Nazarenos are part of the Catholic brotherhoods. Generally, each city has multiple brotherhoods, each with their own representation and different symbols and colour of robes. Often, these brotherhoods date back to the Middle Ages.

Easter Procession Costumes

Traditionally, only men could be in the Catholic brotherhoods but nowadays women also join in. Moreover, Nazarenos represent penance, due to the historical significance.

Some historians believe that the Capirotes (the coned hoods) worn by the Nazarenos date back to the time of the Spanish Inquisition (1478–1834). Sinners had to wear a cone hat and walk through the streets as a form of public humiliation. The colour of the cone hat represented their type of punishment.

After the Spanish Inquisition disbanded (1834), people continued to use the cone to do penance to absolve them of their sins. The Catholic brotherhoods continued doing it. Over time, the hoods became longer so that people could penance anonymously without being publicly humiliated.

Today, only Catholic brotherhoods wear the capirotes. While the costume still represents penitents, those wearing the costumes are not doing penance anymore. The costumes are now much more majestic than they once were, and the Catholic brotherhoods proudly lead the pasos, often carrying candles.

Nazarenos en verde y blanco el miercoles santo Vejer de la frontera, Cádiz, Spain Explore la Tierra Semana santa easter week descalzo
Comparing two nazarenos fro two brotherhoods Vejer de la frontera, Cadiz


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Thank you for reading my blog about the origin of Easter costumes in Spain. If you are looking for what gourmet food of Andalusia, traditional and Sherry experiences in Cadiz, then keep reading. You can find more information about our great food tours in Vejer de la Frontera and throughout Cadiz province that we do in our website, click here.

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