What is the origin of those Ku Klux Klanish costumes seen in religious processions?

I remember seeing pictures of them in National Geographic, possibly from Spain or Portugal. Dead ringers for Klanwear except the sheets might or might not be differently colored on occasion.

I just watched the movie WIDOWS’ NEST, and that film took place in Cuba, and the people were wearing pseudo-Klan costumes in several different colors.

I hope you are aware they antedate the Klan by a long time and are totally unrelated. The idea is that the men were doing penance during Holy Week and wanted to be anonymous for humility.

Something I always wondered about is in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”. When Robin’s father is killed and the castle is burned, where the bad guys got their Ku Klux Klan outfits. Did some group use those outfits in 12th century England?

I think the particular procession you saw was in Seville, PSain for Holy Week (Easter) - but it may not be unique to there.

I think the Klan actually ripped the look off from the Sevillians (once I saw a Klansman on Court TV even admit that).

There are such penitent processions in many Spanish towns, not only in Seville, and also in some towns in southern France. I believe it’s also the case in some Italian towns, but I’m not sure.

So, those guys in the 1860’s ripped off the look from Spain?

I don’t think they did it in the 1860’s. At that time, they wore “ghost” outfits on nightrides.

The Ku Klux Klan pretty much died out in the 1870’s, but was famously revived in the 1910’s. I think it was then that the penitente look was adapted (from “Birth of a Nation”) Also I think cross burning was ripped of from the Scots. Basically, they took a grab bag of Old World rituals for themselves.

The pointy hats or hoods serve to disgusie the height of the wearer. The different associations or whatever they call them often wear different colors, but other than that the idea is to be totally unknown.

My understanding is that the idea is to be able to do good works for the needy and the church without being so vain as to credit yourself as an individual for this good work. In other words, the work is done because it it needs doing and not because you desire to reap any social or spiritual rewards for yourself.

The custom seems to be practiced in Catholic communities throughout southern Europe. It most assuredly predates the KKK by many centuries.

The KKK liked —and probably still likes— to cloak itself in a pretense of honor, tradition, and religion. But being an essentially criminal/terrorist organization, it needs this self-invented cover.