Does the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) show up in Spain during Easter Week (Semana Santa) to march in the processions and play the Spanish bagpipes? Here’s the story behind the pointed hats of Easter Week in Spain:
Long before the KKK wore pointed hoods and started terrorizing and killing people who were different from them, the pointed hat, or the “capirote”, started out as a hat worn by jugglers and clowns in medieval Spain. The capirote became associated with clumsiness and stupidity. People even started making criminals wear the hats to shame and insult them. Thus, the capirote became a symbol of shame and wrong doing.
Later, according to Wikipedia, “during the celebration of the Holy Week/Easter in Mediterranean countries, "Penitentes" (people doing penitence 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 recognized.”
Today, this tradition continues during Semana Santa. The pointed hoods are bold symbols of humility, penance, and introspection.
So next time you’re in Spain and see some hooded bagpipers in a procession, now you know what’s really going on. It’s more than bagpipes and hooded robes walking down the street. It’s a walk of deep history and tradition connected all the way back to the middle ages. A symbol of clumsiness and stupidity evolved into a public, yet private, show of penance and humility.
What do you think about the Spanish capirote? Have you ever seen the processions during Semana Santa in Spain? Let us know your thoughts below or on Facebook.com/spanishbagpipes.
For more photos of the capirote during Semana Santa in Spain, click here.
About the Author: Natan Andres is a Galician gaita player, entrepreneur, and likes playing and hiking in the mountains of Montana.