Robes: A Detailed Insight

When things have been around for a very long time, we often lose sight of the history as to why things are the way they are.  Traditions, like decorating a tree at Christmas time, fall into this category. Many people don’t know why they decorate a tree each year, they simply do – it’s tradition!  Robes also tend to fall into this category. Custom robes such as clergy robes, robes for convocation, and robes worn by priests have been part of the fabric of our history for hundreds of years. But do you know why they are worn?

So, now that we’ve got you curious, let’s take a more detailed look at robes and why they are a part of our society.

Three Things to Know About Robes

1. The history.

We’ve talked before about the tradition of regalia gowns and robes for convocation. But what about the robes that dress priests and other clergy? Since the inception of organized religion, it has been required that clergy dress in a way that distinguishes them from ordinary people. Those in the community must be easily able to recognize a priest or pastor by his attire.

In some ways, robes worn by religious leaders make them appear to be dressed like Kings. This connection is purposeful, as it reminds those who are people of God that they serve Christ the King.

Robes that adorn Buddhist monks are thought of in a similar way. Although the Buddhist clergy dress in simple robes as a reflection of the simple life they have chosen, the robes also serve to create a uniform that addresses their intention to serve. 

2. The colours.

Colours are used to mark various seasons in the church calendar. In general, white is used for baptisms, weddings, funerals, and secular holidays. Red is used to commemorate a martyred saint, as well as for ordinations and installation of pastors. Purple is for services of repentance.

Priests typically have several custom robes of different colours to give a more effective expression of their faith. The different colours of robes or vestments portray the religious journey one takes throughout the liturgical year.

When it comes to robes for convocation, colour can denote a particular academic institution or the highest academic level achieved by the graduate.

3.  A visual cue.

A robe adds dignity and reverence to any religious or formal service. Just like doctors, nurses, judges, and policemen, people want religious leaders to wear something distinctive that reminds them of their expertise or calling. A robe serves as a uniform that reminds us of the training and commitment completed by those wearing the robe.

Custom Robes Designed For Various Needs

At Harcourts, we’ve been creating handcrafted, custom tailored robes and regalia since 1842. Which means, we understand the history and the importance of creating robes that are of high quality, with the right detail and that are custom fit for each individual. We invite you to experience the Harcourts difference. Contact us and find out how we can help you get exactly what you need.