Masonic regalia refers to the items of “uniform” that all Freemasons wear when they meet within a Lodge. Most people will have heard that Freemasons wear aprons as part of their masonic regalia/uniform but wouldn’t necessarily know that there are difference types of apron for different degrees and ranks.
It is normal for any Lodge meeting, that a Freemason will wear a dark suit, black tie (or other approved Masonic tie) and white gloves. Being a Freemason is a great honour and we respect that honour by always being dressed smartly when we meet.
The wearing of white gloves is an interesting aspect of a Freemason’s masonic regalia and there has been much discussion about why we do it. One accepted view is that when Freemasons meet we wear white gloves as an indication of equality within Freemasonry. Historically, if a tradesman and a clerk met and then shook hands, the tradesman’s hands may well be rough and the clerk’s hands smooth, thus giving an indication of what type of employment and social standing each other had. By the wearing of white gloves it meant that every Freemason’s hands looked clean and no other Freemason could make an assumption about another’s employment. As you will note from this website equality within Freemasonry is a very important aspect for us all.
In general terms, the aprons for craft masonry come in different forms for each of the three degrees. But let’s just pause there for a second. We just mentioned craft masonry so what is that? Freemasonry covers not only those degrees that most people have heard about but also a progression within Freemasonry that covers a number of orders or “side degrees”. No matter where they have ended up within Freemasonry everyone starts by being initiated within a craft Lodge, which is always referred to as their mother Lodge. Craft masonry is the very heart of Freemasonry. Other orders or side degrees include:
- The Holy Royal Arch
- Knights Templar
- Mark Masons
- Royal & Select
- Allied Masonic Degree
- Order Of The Secret Monitor
- Ark Mariners
- Rose Croix
… to name but a few. But we are only dealing with craft masonry in this section.
When a Freemason is first initiated he is given a plain white leather apron that shows he has taken his first degree in Freemasonry and that he is at the start of his masonic career. After a while he will progress to the second degree in Freemasonry and at this stage he will be given a new apron which is white but with two light blue rosettes at the bottom. As he progresses further within Freemasonry he undertakes his third degree and is then allowed to wear the apron of a Master Mason. This is a much grander apron made of soft white leather, trimmed in light blue material and has three light blue rosettes and silver embellishments. In the normal course of things it is the Lodge that lends the aprons for the first and second degrees but the Master Mason is required to purchase his own Master Mason’s Apron.
So, where do we purchase masonic regalia from and how much does it cost?
There are a number of ways to buy masonic regalia depending on whether you want brand new or second hand. When a second degree Freemason knows that his third degree ceremony is getting close he is always best speaking to a more senior member of the Lodge about where to buy regalia from as they may know of someone who may be selling their past masonic regalia. This is normally a great way to start building masonic regalia as you get it at a reduced charge. Your first port of call for this should be your Lodge Secretary who will know exactly the right person to speak to. Also many Lodges have regalia sales during the course of the year when pre owned masonic regalia will be offered for sale to Freemasons in general from other Lodges. You can also look at eBay which has a huge resource for masonic regalia but just make sure that you are buying the right pieces. With pre-owned regalia the advice if clear, if in doubt, ask. Should your preference be to purchase new masonic regalia, you will find a number of online outlets with a vast range of stock.
I hope this page has been of some help and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to drop us a line by clicking here.