Each year for Easter week, people take to the streets wearing pointy hoods and capes, and carrying crosses and burning candles. It's not the KKK, although it's hard to get over that association. They are penitents marching in Easter processions in Spain. Essentially, the processions are funeral processions for Jesus, and many participants wear masks so they can pray without their curbside friends shouting out distracting greetings. Their outfits come in various colors, marking the co-fraternities they belong to.
If you look down at the foot gear, you can see children's sneakers, women's spiked heels, men's oxfords, loafers, and everything in between, including a few bare feet, sometimes dragging heaving chains for sacrificial penitence. Some penitents carry floats on their shoulders that bear flower-decked statues of Jesus or a tearful Mary.
The penitents may be followed by women dressed in black wearing black mantillas, and men in black suits in formal capes. Often the processions include bands playing dirges.
The people on the curb try to retain their solemnity, though they may have been passing the time as they waited for the processions in bars enjoying a drink or two.
Seville is famous for having the best processions, but the crowds get perilously big. I'll be watching the ones in Madrid.
I wonder what the hordes of American high school students here on school tours will think of this.
The photo is of a statue in Segovia.