To non Masons the regalia we wear may seem a bit strange but as with everything in Freemasonry it is all symbolic and has lots of history / tradition attached to it. The main part of our regalia and the bit that most people know about or comment on is the Apron. A full history can be found here http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/aqc/apron.html
The apron denotes the level you are within Freemasonry. There are whats known as the three degrees when you become a Mason. Your 1st degree is Entered Apprentice. When you join you wear a plain white apron. You then progress to becoming a Fellow Craft and wear a white apron with two blue rosettes at the bottom, you then progress further to become a Master Mason. This is a white apron with a blue border, three rosettes and tassels. It took 12 month for me to become a Master Mason. Each degree has a different ceremony that you go through. Each ceremony teaches you more about Freemasonry, you never stop learning!!
Now I’m sure you’re wondering about the secret stuff!! Well, people say that we are a secret society, we are not. If we were I wouldn’t be writing this blog. Freemasonry is a club, a hobby, nothing more than that. The main purpose is to raise money for charity. There are elements of what we have that we don’t publicise. Yes you can call them secret but they are kept secret really by tradition. If you go back to Freemasons started. They were Stone Masons, highly skilled people. Most of them could not read and write. This posed a problem with their training, if we gain a qualification today we get a certificate. Back in their day they couldn’t issue certificates because very few people could read them, so they had to invent a way of proving how qualified they were. They developed a system of passwords, signs and “handshakes” to let potential employers know what level of training they had. These were obviously kept secret and only revealed to Masons when they became qualified. As a mark of respect we don’t disclose these either. Everything else we are free to discuss. So I know it’s probably a bit of a let down but that’s it I’m afraid. No big secrets!!!
As a society we are very open, you can visit lodge open days and have a good look around. You can ask whatever questions you like and you will get a very honest answer. All Freemasons are encouraged to speak about their membership and will gladly help you to join.