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Easter versus the Ku Klux Klan in Spain

Figurine displaying traditional Spanish Easter garb in Cartagena, Spain (photo by Tui Cameron)
Figurine displaying traditional Spanish Easter garb in Cartagena, Spain (photo by Tui Cameron)

With Easter just around the corner, I thought I’d post this photo I took at a gift shop in Cartagena, Spain. As you can see from the sign, tourists often mistake these hooded figures for Ku Klux Klan members. In truth, there is no affiliation.

These hooded robes, called capirotes, are worn by devout Catholics during Holy Week in Spain, when large processions march slowly through the streets. (To learn more, check out the article Semana Santa in Spain Holy Week Glossary which does an excellent job of explaining how Catholics celebrate Easter in Spain.)

I visited Spain once during Holy Week and it was fascinating. I’m not Catholic, so it was all new to me. Not only were there hooded folks walking through the streets, but some penitents wore thorny crowns and dragged crosses along the way. I saw one guy staggering along with no less than 12 crosses over his shoulders. Made me wonder what the heck he was atoning for!

Spanish capirote hoods also remind me of conical paper hoods I used to see skinned rabbits wearing in butcher shop windows when I lived in Belgium. Come to think of it, a pointy hood like a capirote would be the easiest hat for the Easter Bunny to wear. I’m just saying…

What about you? Ever seen anything while traveling that gave you the wrong impression at first glance?

Tui Snider
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Published inTravel Photo Essays


  1. Kat Kat

    Something I didn’t know about until I went there: in India, swastikas are still peace symbols. People know about the Nazi association (of course!, but the Nazi angle hasn’t destroyed all other symbolism the way it had elsewhere in the world.

    Swastikas are common symbols on hotels in Mumbai where I was — sometime I was working with at the local office explained they’re meant to indicate a safe space. I got some shopping bags at a department store that had swastikas on them too. I did keep them for a bit after I got home, but I wound up throwing them out. It wasn’t like I could ever use them outside of the house.

  2. Billy Billy

    What are these toys called

  3. […] Traditions: According to the steady stream of searches leading to Easter versus the Ku Klux Klan in Spain, I’m not the only one who wanted to know more about those peculiar pointed hoods worn by […]

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