Masonic Aprons: The hidden Truth
Masonic Aprons worn by Freemasons like every other fraternity in the world, have crafted a unique identity for themselves. The temple has distinguished itself, not only in its beliefs, but also in its attire. However, it’s the meaning behind their attire that is not only reflective of their ideas and beliefs. These are also used to reflect upon the history of the fraternity. Which can be traced back not only millennia, but to the very beginning of human civilization.
Freemasons widely regard themselves to be the ideological descendants of the very first stonemasons of the early era of emerging civilization. These stonemasons were the ones who laid the first stones of human infrastructure and architecture. It is upon their work and struggle that we have further built and progressed. They can be considered as the beginners of human civilization and the ones who set its direction. Masonic tradition is the name of honoring those men. And to have respect for their devotion which has led to our very existence.
What is a Masonic Apron:
A Masonic Apron is a specifically designed apron, that is worn by Masonic priests during rites and rituals. Masonic Aprons are a homage to original stonemasons and craftsmen, who used to wear them. Although they specifically wore them to protect against injuries from stone and metal, their tradition is being kept alive and Masonic Aprons are usually worn to pay respect to them in special ceremonies and rituals in the Masonic temple. Although it is not uncommon for Masons to wear it without any ceremony and just as an object of immense pride and joy, and rightfully so. Masonic Aprons are merely a part of Masonic Attire.
The Masonic attire is very unique in its design and function. Its primary purpose is to pay homage to its original wearers. It continues to signify the same specific role it was believed to have. They are usually made of leather from a livestock animal or from a hunt, however, the most valued and prestigious of Masonic Aprons is considered to be made from lambskin. It is important that the Masonic Apron should not be made on a machine like most of the industry now-a-days. Although Freemasonry is not opposed to technology. it is considered important not to deviate from the original path of the masons. Also, since wearing Aprons are a tradition of Craftsmen, it is important that they are made by skilled craftsmen as well.
Why Masonic Aprons are worn:
The Masonic Aprons other than their symbolic value are also used to signify a Mason’s rank among its peers as well. In their first degree, Masons are usually given a white Apron. A white, non spotted, lambskin apron is a rite of passage for Masons. White is chosen because it signifies innocence. It is considered the “badge of a mason” as well as an “emblem of innocence”.Although every lodge of Masons might have its own design, blue lodge Aprons are usually considered the most prestigious. Blue Lodge Masonic Aprons are derived from the blue color in the Flag of Judah from the time of David.
The blue color of this specific proportion has widely been associated with Judaism due to its proliferation in that particular region. It is usually worn by Master Masons. However its not only the design of their specific Apron and attire that distinguish them. Master Masons usually wear their Aprons in a specific way, that is to fold them from the upper corner. This suggests that they do not actually require the fellow-craft of other masons but are actually the ones who direct the craft.
Another very important purpose of the masonic apron is to realize the worth of Labor. They are a craftsman’s craft which he has crafted with work and labor. Hence a Mason always values the work that has been put into them.
Wearing aprons as a badge is also not a new tradition. The first mention of wearing an apron is also as old as Freemasonry itself. in fact it was in the book of Genesis in the Old Testament. Melchizedek was appointed the highest of priests and wore an apron. That signifies how old the actual tradition is.
Masonic Aprons as a representation of degree:
Degrees of freemasonry is an eventual ladder of ranks that a Mason strives to achieve. It is also known as Scottish rite. In such a process a Mason strives to achieve the highest degree possible. In reality there are 32 officially recognized degrees of Scottish rite. The 33rd degree is usually awarded by the blue lodge to the Master Mason upon his funeral. The 33rd degree can not be asked for, it is usually given as a token of respect by the disciples of the Master Mason and his acquaintances. However, if someone asks for the 33rd degree, it must be denied to them.
At the funeral of a Mason, his Apron is usually buried with him. It is the final objective of the Apron. Furthermore, while Masonic Aprons are supposed to be a tradition. It is worth noting that wearing different aprons in different ways actually symbolizes a certain degree.
Also worth noting is that the Masonic Apron of the Masons is descriptive of the degree of their Scottish rite, or as such represents their craft. Although a white apron is given to the early disciples, it progressively becomes more and more decorative. A new design can be implement and authorized only by a Master Mason. Which is restricted to the Scottish rite degrees. An individual for the sake of fraternity can design and wear his own Masonic Apron as well.
It can be concluded from this article that a Masonic Apron has a special place and role. not only in the Scottish rite but in the institution of Freemasonry as well. The sanctity should be preserved owing to its symbolism. They should be acquired from a trusted and skilled craftsman. Who is a genuine believer in the sanctity of Freemasonry and respects the Symbolism of Masonic Apron.