For this week’s addition of Freemasons in Wilmington, our topic this week is: Why do Freemasons wear white gloves? This is an easy one to explain, simply put Freemasons believe that all members of the fraternity, no matter where they come from, how much money they have or what kind of work they do, that as Brothers, we are all equal. Freemasons believe that it is the internal qualities of a person that is important, not kind of car the person drives or what house he lives in. You are probably now saying, “yes this is great and all, but why the white gloves?” In the beginning, when Freemasonry was first organized, it was composed of what is known as “operative” or actual working masons. Over time, as stone craft masonry began to decline, non-working masons or “speculative” masons, were allowed to join the fraternity in order continue its traditions and keep the fraternity alive. Now here comes the reason for the gloves. By wearing gloves during a lodge meeting, a person could not tell the difference from one man to the other in regards to the type of work that he did. You can imagine, that a typical stone mason’s hands would look much different than those of say a banker or a lawyer. The white gloves allowed Freemasons to treat each brother equally without regard to his station in life. In today’s Freemasonry, we honor the traditions of our past by wearing white gloves and treating one another as equals within the Fraternity. In Massachusetts, only the officers of a lodge wear white gloves along with tuxedos during lodge meetings or special events. In other parts of the world, such as England, all members attending a lodge meeting are required to wear white gloves. But one thing is for sure, no matter where a Freemason travels, he will always be accepted as an equal in lodge.
Next week I will cover the topic of those “secret” handshakes and passwords. Until next time, Vivat! Vivat! Vivat!