What Does A White Robe Symbolize?

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What Does A White Robe Symbolize? In most cultures and religions, white symbolizes purity, innocence and humility. It is considered a sacred colour that holds significant power over the belief of people.

White robes are usually worn by leaders or by individuals on special occasions to commemorate the day. However, it’s not always that white robes hold any sort of deep meaning, with it sometimes being worn just as a fashion choice or “what’s available”, take white bathrobes in hotels and spas for example.

Well, although one can argue that those are white to prove that they are always clean and you can trust in the organization’s hygienic practices.

White robes symbolism in some religious groups/cultures

Below are a few symbolism that white robes hold in some religious groups and cultures;

Religious Implications

There are numerous religious denominations and they all have their symbolism which they regard white robes, as much as a run through all the religions would be interesting, it would take up a lot of time and energy you and I don’t need to expend.

Therefore, let’s go through a few of them, the most popular ones and some which may or may not be new information to you.

Christianity

I’m sure you may be familiar with this, even if it’s not in-depth knowledge, here are a few of the significance which white robes pose to the denomination.

Catholic priests

Priests wear white robes during mass which are known as Cassocks to oversee funeral ceremonies and also wear the robes during Easter and Christmas.

It is worn because it symbolizes life and death, however, it celebrates life as opposed to dwelling on the departure of a loved one in death. These white cassocks are only worn during the mass and when it’s done they go back to wearing regular clothes.

Baptisms

White robes are worn by Christians who are being baptized to symbolize being born anew in Christ and the absence of sin. Like I mentioned earlier, white symbolizes purity, that concept is being applied here also.

Altar boys

Alter boys also wear white robes during mass to perpetuate similar virtues which the priests hold, as an integral part of Catholic worship, they also have to look the part by dressing the part.

There are other Christian denominations like the Cherubim and Seraphim which wear white robes to every Sunday sermon, I guess you can say the white robes, in this case, is a part of their identity as a unit, not just the solitary purity reasons.

Islam

Another popular religion with over a billion practitioners across the world.

Ihram clothing

Ihram attire applies to the garments which are worn on pilgrimage to the holy land, for Muslims, this means clothing worn on pilgrimage to Mecca.

White robes are worn by pilgrims to symbolize equality in each and every member, stating that everyone is equal before the eyes of God. Therefore, in this case, white robes symbolize Equality

Imams

These are the clergymen who oversee the sermons in mosques, they wear white robes or kaftans to symbolize holiness in service of Allah.

Santeria

This is a religious group which are based in Cuba, they wear white robes on the first week of conversion— new converts anyway.

The white robe symbolizes the acceptance of their religion and the acceptance by other members as a part of their community.

Jain

This is a religious demographic-based in India, they are a bit extreme in their beliefs as they forgo all worldly possessions and clad themselves in nothing but white robes, in their religion Jain Nuns and Monks wear white robes to symbolize humility.

Cultural Symbolism

For most people, including myself, culture is super important and an integral part of their identity, every culture has its dress code for specific events to commemorate holidays and other happenings, a few cultures which use white robes are outlined below.

Japanese

An island in Asia that has a rich culture that spans centuries, some of the symbolism of white robes include;

  • Martial arts– White robes are worn in martial art practices in Japans, such as Judo, which is a form of wrestling that is inherently a part of the Japanese culture. Sometimes I wonder if wrestling is a cultural appropriation of Judo, who knows right?
  • Funeral– The Japanese also dress their deceased in white robes to symbolize leaving the world of all the innate pain and suffering into the afterlife pure of hatred and Malice. Basically,

Korean

The Dobok is a white robe that is worn by practitioners of Taekwondo in Korea, Taekwondo is a form of martial arts which originates from Korea but has spread into Western cultures as well.

The robe is fastened with belts, although the best are usually different coloured, with White being for beginners and Black for more advanced fighters. You’ve seen movies, you know what I’m talking about.

Ceremonial Symbolism

As for ceremonial reasons, there are several interpretations of white robes which cultures, religions and demographics hold, some are similar while some are basically just living their best life and flowing with the tide. Some of the ceremonial uses of white robes includes;

Weddings

White robes are worn in weddings to symbolize purity and humility, the willingness to co-exist as a unit by both parties in the contract.

Read Also: Are Bridesmaid Robes Worth It? (4 Bridesmaid Robes Reviewed)

That’s what marriages basically are right? A contract— two people coming together to agree upon a set of demands in front of a bunch of witnesses, often their family and friends.

It is not just tailored to a single religion or culture, several groups have the practice of wearing these white robes and garments during weddings, with the attire predominantly worn by the bride.

Coronations

In the UK, during the coronation of a monarch, the ceremonial attire is typically a satin white robe. Not your average white robe, of course, this is the high-end kind which is embroidered with gold and diamonds, you know, all the fancy gems and crystals money can buy.

The white robe is worn by the individual who is being crowned and it symbolizes power and virtue. Fascinating, right?

Abaya

Abaya are robes which are worn by Muslim females, the white kind are worn during their weddings, however, it isn’t limited to weddings alone.

Unlike wedding dresses which would be super weird if you wear them on regular days, Abayas can be worn typically as a work outfit or on social gatherings and stuff.

Uniformity

The one thing almost every group has when it comes to the symbolism of white robes, especially the ones who wear them as a group is Uniformity.

It shows togetherness between every member who’s wearing the robe, making it easier to identify them as a unit. Humans tend to seek comfort in numbers, and we all have an affinity to “pack” lifestyle.

In one way or another, we all belong to a group or unit who share the same values and ideals, from the friends we keep to our profession. I bet there is a dress code at your workplace, no?

Fashion Statement

Oftentimes, there is no deep meaning to a white robe, it may simply be a colour choice for a particular robe. White is an appealing colour for most people and they tend to get most of their clothes in white.

Maybe they like to feel clean, maybe they like the way it makes their skin-pop— whatever the reason, it’s their fashion statement to make and it’s best not to think too much of it.

While white robes may look cool and have you looking radiant, they are difficult to maintain and if neglected start to discolour, when this happens, it ruins the robe, makes it look dull.

A discoloured white robe makes you look untidy and dirty. Wash them often and don’t skimp out on bleach if you need to get rid of tough stains.

FAQs

How do I remove stains from my white robes?

The best way would be to use a powerful stain temp detergent, do not wash immediately, pour some of the laundry detergents in the washer with some water and soak the white robes in there for about an hour. That will help loosen the stain from the fibre of the fabric and make it super easy to come off when you start washing.

You can also use bleach to remove tough stains from your white robes, apply a similar concept as mento above by allowing it to “marinate” for a white, then wash with detergent and rinse properly to get the bleach smell out.

What does a robe represent?

For some people, it is an attire that represents their Culture, Religion or Professions. For some others, a robe is just another clothing item that serves the purpose of covering their bodies.

Every type of robe has its use or function, some are interchangeable while some have specific uses, take a Kimono and a Bathrobe, for example, you can’t use a Kimono as a bathrobe because the material just won’t cut it, and Vice-versa.

How do I get bleeding stains out of my white robes?

Bleeding stains are very hard to remove when they get in white clothing, you could use bleach experimentally to see if it gets the job done.

However, the best way to take care of a problem is to avoid situations that will lead to the said problem in the first place. Wash your white robes alone, or with other white clothing items, mixing them in with coloured clothes is what causes the bleeding stains.

Also, ensure you wash your washing machine often, especially when you recently clean a cloth that bleeds, the residue in that washer can get in your whites while you’re doing laundry.

Are robes fashionable?

Yes, they are. If styled properly, robes are a great fashion choice. Purchase robes that are made with the best material, the better the fabric, the better it looks on you.

The right clothes underneath, paired with the right shoes will make all the difference when you decide to wear a robe to a social function.

You can look up how to style robes to know what best works for you and your physique, here is a recommendation though, a robe that pairs well with most outfits and will make you look great. The Kwedhonjh Classic 100% Silk Kimono Robe.

Can I wear Robes to work?

Depending on the dress code of your workplace and the job description, it would determine the possibility. For example, most retail jobs promote dressing in casual outfits and while a retail job working at a grocery store or a fast-food restaurant may be strict on the type of casual outfit allowed.

Retail jobs in fashion tend to be more lenient, allowing expressionism. As long as the brand sells fashionable robes, you can wear the robes to work as a way of advertising them to potential customers.

White-collar job on the other hand, maybe a straight jacket or trench coat, I don’t know about robes. Trench coats are basically robes, aren’t they? If you are a priest, robes are literally a part of your job description.

What Does A White Robe Symbolize – Conclusion

We have gone through a few significance and symbolism which white robes hold for people across the world, in religions and cultures.

A few of the symbols date back centuries while some don’t even hold meaning at all, it’s simply individuals or groups of individuals trying to live their best life and look good while doing it.

If you can relate to any of the symbolism outlined above, that is awesome, if you can’t, then I hope you learned a bit today about the cultural values which people hold dear.

We may all have different views and beliefs, but that’s what makes life exciting because you get to learn something new every day and move out of your comfort zone while expanding your mind to the world out there. Best of luck in your future endeavours, cheers!

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