The Valencian Seafaring Holy Week is marked by three figures that accompany the images in the processions: the executioners who watch over Jesus the Nazarene; the penitents who guard the crucified Jesus; and the grenadiers who protect the two images of the Virgin of Sorrows and the image of the Virgin of Solitude.
As occurs in other places, the penitents bear sticks and wear robes and hoods of different colours, according to the guild, brotherhood or corporation to which they belong. However, the uniforms of the executioners and the grenadiers have their peculiarities.
One century ago, the executioners of the Holy Seafaring Week changed the Romans’ dresses for the aesthetics of the Crusades. The reason was due to a simple anecdote. The tunic suppliers ran out of stock and the guilds went on to wear the medieval knights’ costumes.
The presence of grenadiers in army uniforms conceals a historical reason dating back to the 19th century, during Napoleonic Spain. According to tradition, in order to improve relations with the inhabitants of the maritime towns, the French general Suchet not only allowed the celebration of Easter but sent his soldiers to guard the Virgin. After the withdrawal of the French troops, the inhabitants of the area took the uniforms that the officers left abandoned and continued wearing them in the acts in which the mother of Jesus is venerated.