A capirote is a pointed hat of conical form that is used in Spain. It is part of the uniform of some brotherhoods including the Nazarenos and "Phariseos" (see Holy Week in Seville). during Easter observances and reenactments in some areas of Spain.
The pointed hat was worn by clowns and jugglers who wanted to portray clumsiness or stupidity during medieval times. Because of this, pointed hats were used when vexing criminals. The 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.
Later, during the celebration of the Holy Week/Easter in Mediterranean countries, "Penitentes" (people doing penitence for their sins) would walk through streets with pointed hats. It was a way of self-injury; however, they covered their faces so they wouldn't be recognized.
The capirote, which predates such hoods, is not to be confused with the pointed hoods worn by members of the Ku Klux Klan.
- BBC News, In pictures: Palm Sunday services, image 6 shows people wearing capirotes.