Presented by V.W. Bro. Norman McEvoy
Director of Masonic Education
Victoria Columbia Lodge No1
Grand Lodge of BC&Yukon (Canada)
Over the years, and in particular over the last few months, I have encountered a number of occasions where the subject of WHY, WHEN & WHERE to wear white gloves has surfaced.
In an effort to add light to this custom, I have done some research and now share it with you.
GLOVES, Page 461 Freemason’s Guide and Compendium, Bernard E. Jones
There is a time-immemorial tradition, both in Masonry and outside it, of the wearing and giving of gloves.
As Masonic Emblems, aprons and gloves are closely associated, and have the same import, being emblems of innocence and purity of heart.
In some countries the Initiate has been invested, in addition to the apron, with white gloves, such gloves being the emblem of “Clean Hands”. (Hands and Gloves are words coming from the same root)
“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his Holy Place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart” Psalm xxiv. Verses 3 & 4.
One of the irregular prints, dated 1772, says that the Master addresses an Initiate with these words:
“Put on these gloves, their whiteness is the symbol of purity, and of the innocence of a mason’s manners etc.”.
In my research I have consulted the Grand Lodge of BC & Yukon Constitutions and find no reference to this subject whatsoever.
Further, I have consulted the Book on Forms and Ceremonies for the same Jurisdiction and do find reference in the “Masonic Funeral Service”.
The reference is as follows:
“At a Masonic funeral, the Brethren should be suitably clothed, wearing the proper Masonic clothing of their rank, inside their coats, white gloves, and a sprig of evergreen on the left lapel of their coat.”
Having no access to the Rules and Regulations in other jurisdictions, I must of necessity have no comment as to usage elsewhere.
From a personal perspective, I believe that the wearing of white gloves in our Lodges, particularly when we are conducting Ritual, adds an additional degree of dignity and decorum to the proceedings.
There being no rules or regulations for, the wearing, or NOT wearing gloves,
(with the exception of a Grand Master’s edict or the By-Laws of your Lodge),
this decision, I believe, is up to the Mason himself to decide.