On holy friday hundreds of "Cucuruchos" wearing their traditional "capirote" walk along the streets of Quito, Ecuador. The procession is called "la procesion de Jesus del Gran Poder". The point of wearing this costume is to be penitent for the sins commited during the past year. In early times the Cucuruchos would stay outside the churches in the cold for a week, be punished/injured by passers by and called names. Later they were asked to walk around in the streets of Quito during Holy Friday. Some are carrying cactus on their naked back, carry heavy wooden crosses or injure themselves. Though i heard the procession is less bloody than a few years ago.
The origins of the capirote dates back to the medieval times in Spain. Clowns and jugglers portraying clumsiness and stupidity would wear these. Criminals were forced to wear pointed hats and walk through the streets, while people threw rotten vegetables at them, spat on them, and insulted them. I've been told criminals are very common to participate in this procession, to start with a "clean sheet" afterwards. Though, not all people participating are penitents. Real penitents can be noticed by walking barefoot. It is also possible for outsiders to arrange a costume and participate.
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