KKK-style costumes in Seville religious procession

On an old PBS television program late the other night, I saw footage of a procession of religious icons being carried through the streets of Seville, Spain. One group of people in the procession was wearing robes and hoods reminiscent of those worn by members of the KKK, but with taller hoods. I found this picture with Google images.

What’s the story here? Who are these people, and how long have they been wearing costumes like this? I find it hard to believe the anti-Catholic KKK would borrow the design from the Seville group, or vice versa. Is the resemblance pure coincidence or was there a common origin for both?

There was a south-western indian tribe whose favorite symbol was a swastika. Now the ghosts of those Indians have to watch us tromp through museums, point at indian displays, and say “Hey look, those Indians were Nazis!”

This is the fate of all ancient peoples that did not have the good sense to pick clothing and symbols wouldn’t later be used by this or that hateful group now.

As I understand it, this is the Semana Santa (Holy Week), festival that takes place throughout Spain in the run up to Easter, but especially in Seville. The procession of penitents called Nazarenos reenact the stages of Christ’s passion, and technically the hoods are worn to protect the identity of the sinners. They’ve been worn since the C16[sup]th[/sup] (as can be seen in paintings such as this one by Francisco Goya for instance). They certainly weren’t inspired by the KKK costumes.

I don’t know whether StPaul is talking about native Americans, but the swastika has been used as a good luck symbol in India for centuries, and the Nazis took their device from that use.

The outfits of the cofradías de penitentes share many details with to the sambenito, the outfit of those processed by the Inquisition(). An overcloak in an identifying color and a matching tall dunce cap has a history, in Spain, as the outfit of a person expiating misconduct all the way to the 1500s and maybe earlier. In the case of the penitentes, the cowl conceals their individual identities so as to make them all equal within the cofradía and emphasize that “we’re all sinners” – as opposed to the regular sambenito which exposed the heretic – but the colors and height make sure that the group itself is visible in the procession.
)(Yes, technically this means that it’s originally the outfit of the people that are going to be abused, rather than the abusers.)
AFAICT, pictures from the time of Reconstruction and Bedford Forrest’s original Klan show them wearing just any old kind of hood/cowl. The all-white, pointy-hatted version of the KKK outfit seems to have been really popularized by Griffith’s Birth of a Nation because it looked good on film, and then life imitated art.

Actually, the nazis reversed the original swastika. (the word itself arises from the sanskrit root svasta)

This is a common claim but doesn’t really seem to be correct. According to SYMBOLS.com, the clockwise-angled swastika has a long pre-Hitler history of being used in benign or positive ways:

*i.e., the one that looks more like the Nazi emblem – MEB.

Cecil debunks the “reversed symbol” theory:

Was the swastika actually an old Native American symbol?

We chatted about this a while ago: What is the origin of those Ku Klux Klanish costumes seen in religious processions?