29 March 2010

Holy Week Processions: Nazarenos

A fixture of Holy Week, both in Spain and in countries that are or have been heavily influenced by Spain, are the processions of penitential brotherhoods. These processions are performed by the bortherhoods' members wearing a nazareno. The nazareno consists of a tunic, a tall hood with a conical top (capirote) used to conceal the face of the penitent, and sometimes a cloak. The colors of the nazareno depend on the particular procession. The nazareno was widely used in the medieval ages to conceal the identity of the penitent while still permitting the penance to be performed in public. Usually, today, the brotherhoods participating in the processions carry processional candles or rough hewn wooden crosses. Many times, the penitents will process barefoot and in some places will carry shackles and chains as a sign of their penance.

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