Part of Semana Santa is a Good Friday procession with around five thousand people dressed conspicuously like the Klan. It’s a bit creepy, actually. There’s nothing I can find to suggest the KKK’s outfits are inspired by this Nazareno catholic tradition (which predates them by many centuries). In fact no one can certainly explain why the Klan dresses like they do. My preferred explanation comes from Mitchell and Webb: they just wanted to look like twats.
The parade reflects the story of Jesus’ last day, which wasn’t a walk in the park. Many of the processors seemed to be in significant pain. They wore bare feet which burned in the midday sun. Some were carrying massive crucifixes on their backs, sweating and struggling under the weight. Some dragged chains on their feet or beat one another with branches. It’s certainly a startling display of commitment to something: tradition? faith?
The parade snakes its way through Quito’s old city and is watched by tens of thousands. It’s a massive spectacle. It marks a religious (and catholic) tradition quite different to the kind that we see at home: more visceral and bloody and probably more superstitious.