Traditional dress, Holy Week garments with significant histories

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© Pedro Rufo / Shutterstock
Traditional: The mantilla.

Capirotes

During the procession Nazarenos wear capirotes, the traditional dress of Holy Week. 

The history of this garment shows an evolution of significance. During medieval times in Spain, the pointed hat was originally worn by clowns and jugglers who wanted to portray clumsiness or stupidity. Because of this, pointed hats were then used when tormenting criminals. They were then forced to wear pointed hats and walk through the streets, while people threw rotten vegetables at them, insulted and spat at them.

Later, during the celebration of the Holy Week or Semana Santa, penitentes (people doing penance for their sins), would walk through streets with pointed hats. It was a way of self-injury. However, they covered their faces so they wouldn’t be recognised.

The capirotes can be worn by men, women and children. Some of the more devout nazarenos walk barefoot or with chains around their ankles. They usually carry a tall candle or a cross, lanterns, or swinging incense. 

The capirote is not to be confused with the pointed hoods worn by members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Mantillas 

This is the traditional Spanish veil worn by the women who walk behind the pasos (floats) during Semana Santa. They are dressed all in black wearing a black lace veil over their heads whilst soberly carrying rosaries. 

This garment became popular in the southern regions of Spain during the 17th century, and is seen in many famous paintings by Goya and Diego Velazquez depicting members of the royal family. 

Queen Isabella II was particularly fond of the garment. In Spain, women wear mantillas during Holy Week, bullfights and weddings.

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