Why do the Nazarenes of Holy Week wear a hood?

With the arrival of Holy Week the streets of all Spanish cities are flooded with nazarenes dressed in the typical tunics over the body and the hood to cover the head. But where does this tradition come from?

The origin of the capirote or cap worn by the Nazaremos was born at the beginning of the Inquisition, in the 15th century approximately. At this time, people who had to serve a sentence for religious crimes had to wear a cloth garment that covered their chest and back and a cardboard cone or other material that symbolized the penance that had been imposed on them.

In addition, its ascending conical shape refers to the closeness between the penitent and heaven. Of course, the face had to be covered, to safeguard the identity of the penitent. For its part, the cloth with which they covered his chest was known as “sanbenito” (From here the popular phrase “hang one the sanbenito” was born).

Arrives in Seville

From the seventeenth century, given its penitential meaning and taking into account that it is the same meaning that governs a procession, this custom was adopted by the religious brotherhoods of Seville for their processions. It quickly spread throughout Spain and ended up being a basic, fundamental and distinctive part of the Nazarene attire.

Of course, each brotherhood has chosen the colors that best symbolize it. The color red is usually linked to the blood and passion of Christ, white to purity and black to mourning.

Easter Cáceres (bigstock)

Curiosities of the hood

Depending on the locality in which you are, it is known as a hood, hood, cap or even a cone. So peculiar is its name, as the way of placing it. And is that Each Autonomous Community has its own form. For example, in Murcia it is worn without covering the head with the mask. In Castilla-La Mancha, on the other hand, they do cover their face. The types are also diverse: bean hood, fallen hood, etc.

The hood is an “accessory” that is always linked to a meaning depending on the brotherhood. The brotherhood of San Juan Evangelista and that of the Seven Words, in Zaragoza, are the ones with the highest hood. In Seville, the Silencio and Gran Poder groups have cones up to 1.15 meters high.

One of the great advantages is that, thanks to the advances of time, the materials with which they are made and shaped that help keep it on the head and improve ventilation, are getting better and better. What’s more, in some communities like Seville entry to the cathedral is not allowed during the procession without the hood.