Semana Santa, Cadiz Province, Spain

 

Exactly 30 years ago this weekend I photographed the Good Friday procession during Holy Week in San Roque in southwest Spain and the scene was as passionate and devout as one could imagine. Nazarenos carried processional candles or rough-hewn wooden crosses to show penance and between them were carried images of the Virgin Mary showing grief for the torture and killing of her Son. Men and boys wore the sinister nazareno penitential robes consisting of a tunic and a hood with conical tip, a capirote, used to conceal the face of the wearer. Historically, the capirote was a simple cone that flagellants would use, but it was also used during capital punishment and indirectly inspired the sinister Ku Klux Klan hoods that followed much later. Surrounding them were beautiful women of all ages wearing the traditional black and all about in the warm spring air hung the curious mixed scents of incense, orange blossom and frying calamares. The memory lives on.

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