Historically, the flagellants are the origin of the current traditions, as they flogged themselves to do penance. Pope Clement VI ordered that flagellants could perform penance only under control of the church; he decreed Inter sollicitudines ("inner concerns" for suppression). This is considered one of the reasons why flagellants often hid their faces.
The use of the capirote or coroza was prescribed in Spain and Portugal by the holy office of Inquisition. Men and women who were arrested had to wear a paper capirote in public as sign of public humiliation. The capirote was worn during the session of an Auto-da-fé. The colour was different, conforming to the judgement of the office. People who were condemned to be executed wore a red coroza. Other punishments used different colours.
When the Inquisition was abolished, the symbol of punishment and penitence was kept in the Catholic brotherhood. However, the capirote used today is different: it is covered in fine fabric, as prescribed by the brotherhood. Later, during the celebration of the Holy Week/Easter in Andalusia, penitentes (people doing public penance for their sins) would walk through streets with the capirote.
The capirote is today the symbol of the Catholic penitent: only members of a confraternity of penance are allowed to wear them during solemn processions. Children can receive the capirote after their first holy communion, when they enter the brotherhood.
Easter hermandad processions in Cabra, Spain
Digital Fine Art Giclée Print
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