Monday, 28 April 2014


You can be forgiven for asking yourself, "The Klu Klux Klan in Spain? Why?" Even though I have seen this spectacle several times since moving to Spain ten years ago, I still find it a chilling, scary sight. So, is there a connection? From research I carried out the morning after going down to Soller to watch the Easter Procession, I find there is apparently none.

The adoption of the long robes and the pointed hat in Spain, known as "capirote" goes back to mediaeval times and follows the costume adopted as a sign of penance in the "Nazareno" tradition, that is from Nazareth in the Holy Land. The masking, anonymising effect of the "capirote" is supposed to signify shame at sins committed in the past at a time when believers beg God’s forgiveness.

The Klu Klux Klan, on the other hand, dates  its origins back only to 1914. So why did the KKK founders adopt this strange garb? I can only speculate that one of them had witnessed this spectacle in Spain and thought, as I did, that it was scary - which is exactly the effect they wanted to portray as they sought to spread their  vile and racist message through the southern states of America and beyond.

So let's not confuse the two. I noted there were mothers and children as young as five taking part in the ceremony last night, hardly the types you associate with the KKK. The costume is bizarre, dramatic and seeped in the deeply religious traditions of Spain and nothing more.