La Candelaria in Spain: Penitents Dress like Members of Ku Klux Klan… for the Past 500 Years

The Spanish celebration of La Candelaria kicks off as penitents remember the anniversary of the day when Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth. The feast kicks off every year during holy week and is part of the East tradition in Spain. Towns and cities across host large processions as penitents are seen in their hooded clothes. Religious statutes are carried through the streets on the shoulders of participates as people make their way, celebrating Easter.

Many in the United States might be concerned that hooded attire represents the sinister group known as the Ku Klux Klan. However, this tradition has taken place in Spain for approximately 500 years.

La Candelaria in Spain: Penitents Dress like Members of Ku Klux Klan... for the Past 500 Years

Penitents of “La Candelaria” brotherhood walk to their church during Holy Week in the Andalusian capital of Seville, southern Spain, April 3, 2012. Hundreds of Easter processions take place around the clock in Spain during Holy Week, drawing thousands of visitors. (Reuters / Marcelo del Pozo)

La Candelaria in Spain: Penitents Dress like Members of Ku Klux Klan... for the Past 500 Years
La Candelaria in Spain: Penitents Dress like Members of Ku Klux Klan... for the Past 500 Years
La Candelaria in Spain: Penitents Dress like Members of Ku Klux Klan... for the Past 500 Years
La Candelaria in Spain: Penitents Dress like Members of Ku Klux Klan... for the Past 500 Years
La Candelaria in Spain: Penitents Dress like Members of Ku Klux Klan... for the Past 500 Years
La Candelaria in Spain: Penitents Dress like Members of Ku Klux Klan... for the Past 500 Years
La Candelaria in Spain: Penitents Dress like Members of Ku Klux Klan... for the Past 500 Years

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