Why do Freemasons wear aprons?
Freemasons wear an apron with pride. It is a symbol which connects them with centuries-old stonemasons.
In the middle ages, they wore the traditional, leather apron to carry their tools.
In Freemasonry, an apron is an emblem of innocence and the badge of honour.
When the Fraternity was first established in the 1700s in England, its founders were looking for actual traditions and rituals that can associate them with the stonemasons.
One of the best associations was the apron. Stonemasons used them to not carry tools but also protect themselves from rough stones.
That’s why, recently, it has become a badge of fraternal distinction.
Though, bear in mind, today Masonic aprons aren’t exactly like before.
They’ve been evolved time and time again. They aren’t only compared with the stonemasons but also with the noblest decoration of ancient Rome and modern Europe.
The Freemasons’ Apron – History
In the beginning, the aprons were made from animal skin. The stonemason used lambskin and made long aprons through it, particularly in the 18th century. They had collar-jewel and the flap was down too.
It was trendy in that era but soon fell into disfavour.
They started cutting off the flaps in the next century and shorten the overall length of it too. In addition, in the early stages, the apron wasn’t so comfortable either.
However, the designers of that era changed it a little bit to make it more convenient.
For example, they gave it a convenient, knee-length shape and also started using soft fabrics in it like silk, satin, and velvet. It didn’t only reduce the weight, but also made the Freemasons feel more comfortable.
In order to make the aprons more lavish, the corners of it were trimmed to give it a more circular line. However, in the late 18th century, they also changed the mode of wearing too. The Masons started wearing it upside down.
This major change especially happened in the era of Modern Masons, as they wanted to appear contemporary while keeping their association with the stonemasons.
They also started fastening it around their abdomen to stop its downward dangling, as they felt it gives the spectators a feeling that they are the working masons, not the modern Freemasons.
The recent decorative aprons, with all the symbols, which you see today, were shaped and designed at the beginning of the 20th century.
It was a revolutionary time, not only for the fashion industry but for Freemasons too.
The Freemasons used more embroidery in their apron for ornamentation purposes. There were some small changes also for distinction.
For example, they introduced purple edging in the aprons for the Grand Officers and light blue for the Master Masons in their lodges.
Interesting Facts About The Freemasons’ Apron
There are some interesting facts and information which you should know, especially if you are planning to join Freemasonry.
They will assist you in perceiving the status of the members in the lodges:
- An apron isn’t only the apron in Freemasonry. It is an inheritance from the past. The members of the lodge wear it with pride as a badge of honour.
- Its decoration can change according to your status in the lodge. For instance, the Entered Apprentice uses a plain white lambskin without any ornament. The Fellowcraft also uses the plain white lambskin but they have two sky-blue rosettes at the bottom. Master Masons also use the same colour apron however they also have sky blue lining and edging with an additional rosette.
- Grand Officers of the lodge have the opportunity to have a more elaborately designed apron. Usually, they buy their own aprons and don’t get them from the lodges.
- The colour white on an apron is a symbol of innocence and sacrifice.
- Masons can wear an apron in certain events too to show their pride in the fraternity. So don’t think they are only for the lodges. In fact, you can see your fellow masons wear aprons at a funeral also. It is kind of like a sign of respect and brotherly love.
- The material of the apron should be lambskin. It is because a lamb is a symbol of purity and innocence. It sacrifices his own life in the service of others, which Freemasons do as well by giving charity and supporting their brothers.
- You need to keep your apron clean and spotless always, as it is a symbol of purity.
As a Freemason, it is pertinent for you to keep the apron with you all life. They bury it with you if you die as a Freemason.
You should always wear your apron with dignity.
It exudes your status and also conveys to a common person that you have risen above the crudeness and the ignorance of men.
If your local lodge doesn’t provide the apron, you can buy it online as well. They are widely available and you can buy some additional ornaments as well like apron case and gloves.
THE GREAT MASONIC LIBRARY
300+ rare & out-of-print Masonic books, poems & illustrations from the 1800s made available for all Brethren to download!