Freemason gloves are worn by Freemasons. Some of them contain the Freemason emblem of square and compasses while some do not. This is because some jurisdictions do not permit markings on Masonic gloves. Freemason gloves have a symbolism that is similar to the symbolism of Freemason aprons.
What the Gloves Symbolizes
White Freemason gloves are spotless, and they signify that the works of a man’s hands must be as pure and as spotless as the gloves.
Psalms 24 verses 3 to 4 says, ‘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; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
The apron refers to the ‘pure heart’ while the gloves refer to the ‘clean hands.’ They both indicate purity, and they refer to the purification of life. In the ancient initiation into the sacred mysteries, ablution symbolized purification.
Most American and English Lodges give the apron more preference than the gloves. But in the old days, the gloves were more important than they are now.
Psalms 26 verse 6 says, ‘I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD.’ The washing of hands here is a sign of internal purification that can be seen by others. Pure hands indicate pure actions while unjust hands signify human injustice.
Masonic White Kid Gloves
In the traditional customs of Germany, France, and some other European countries, a newly initiated Freemason is given two pairs of white kids glove. One is for him, and the other is for his wife, partner or the female he adores the most.
The Presentation of Masonic Gloves
Although gloves are no longer presented in America and England, gloves are still being worn to ceremonies. In a lot of lodges, members dress appropriately in their white aprons and white gloves.
Washing of Hands
In history, before initiation to the ancient mysteries, there must be a washing of the hands. This was done to indicate purity from crime and a qualification of purity from those that wanted to be admitted to the secret rites. The washing of the hands is a sign of purity that was taken strictly by the ancients. It is still taken seriously today in some religions. In those days, no one prayed to the gods until they had washed their hands.
This practice was also common among the Jews. When the Jews shouted that Jesus must be crucified, Pilate stood before the people, took water and washed his hands while telling them that he was washing his hands to indicate that he is innocent of the blood of Jesus.
During the Middle Ages, bishops, priests, and some other clergymen wore gloves when performing ecclesiastical functions. The gloves were always white and made of linen. White gloves indicate purity and chastity. This shows that the hands were kept free from impurity and clean.
Masonic Gloves and Purity
From all that has been written above, it can be seen that gloves have been worn traditionally and Masonic gloves are a continuation of such traditions. As seen from above, Masonic gloves indicate purity.
History has it that Masons in the Middle Ages started the tradition of wearing gloves in Freemasonry.
Builders traveled in companies to various places in Europe and they were actively involved in the construction of cathedrals and palaces. It is from them that the Masonry name, traditions, languages and other things came to be. It is from them that the Masonic gloves also came to be.
In an engraving that was copied from the painted glass of a cathedral window in France, a number of masons are at work. Three of the Masons wear crowns made of laurels. All the Masons wear gloves. Further evidence also exists to show that Masons were given gloves to protect their hands from lime and stone. At various times in history, Masons were presented with gloves.
All these and other evidence show that Masons wore gloves to protect their hands from the effect of their work. The tradition of wearing gloves was then passed on to other Masons. Thus, gloves came to be a regalia worn by Freemasons. They are a symbol of a higher and glorious purpose and above all, Purity.