Religious clothing

Religious clothing is clothing which is worn in accordance with religious practice, tradition or significance to a faith group. It includes clerical clothing such as cassocks, and religious habit, robes, and other vestments. Accessories include hats, wedding rings, crucifixes, etc.


Vestments are liturgical garments and articles associated primarily with the Christian religions, especially the Latin Rite and other Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, Methodists, and Lutheran Churches. Other groups also make use of vestments, but this was a point of controversy in the Protestant Reformation and sometimes since - notably during the Ritualist controversies in England in the 19th century. Clerical clothing is non-liturgical clothing worn exclusively by clergy. It is distinct from vestments in that it is not reserved specifically for services.

Some women belonging to various Christian denominations also practice Christian headcovering, a traditional practice since the days of the early Church.[1] Additionally, some Christians practice the wearing of plain dress, notably traditional Anabaptists (such as Old Order Mennonites), Conservative Friends, and Methodists of the conservative holiness movement; for example, in its 2015 Book of Discipline, the Evangelical Wesleyan Church teaches that:[2]

We require our women to appear in public with dresses of modest length, sleeves of modest length, modest necklines and modest hose; the wearing of split skirts, slacks, jeans, artificial flowers or feathers is forbidden. Moreover, we require our men to conform to the scriptural standards of decent and modest attire; we require that when they appear in public they wear shirts with sleeves of modest length. We require that all our people appear in public with sleeves below the elbows. Women's hemlines are to be modestly below the knees. Our people are forbidden to appear in public with transparent or immodest apparel, including shorts or bathing suits. Parents are required to dress their children modestly in conformity with our general principles of Christian attire. We further prohibit our people from participating in the practices of body-piercing, tattooing or body art.[2]

Adherents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and other sects within the broader Latter Day Saint Movement often receive special garments at or around the age of eighteen. The garments, which are worn at all times under typical clothing, date back to the early days of Mormonism, originating with Mormon founder and prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., and have evolved over time. Members believe that wearing these garments can protect them from physical and spiritual danger, and serve to remind them of covenants they have made with God and Jesus Christ.


Dress in Islam varies from country to country. The Quranic sura An-Nur ("The Light") prescribes modesty in dress.

The veil is clearly stated and recommended in the Quran and Muslim women have been wearing it to preserve their dignity not showing their beauty (hair) to other men than their husband and family.

In the Quran, Allah says: « O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful. » Prophet Mohamed explained it to Muslims and 1439 years ago, Muslims are committed to Allah’s orders.

The Veil is worn especially of the Islamic world. Many Muslim countries adapted the veil to their culture and traditions. For example, there are Muslim countries like Turkey where a headscarf is common. However this does not mean that Niqab or Burqa or Khimar are not worn. In Saudi Arabia the Veil, the Niqab, the Khimar and the Burqa are typical. In Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan the burqa and the Niqab is common. In India in Kashmir, Muslim women wear the Veil and the Khimar. In Soudan, Indonesia and Malaysia, the Veil, the Khimar and the Jilbab are more common.


A kippah or yarmulke is a cloth head covering worn by Jewish males during prayer or other ritual services. Some wear it every day. In the United States, most synagogues and Jewish funeral services keep a ready supply of kipot for the temporary use of visitors who have not brought one.

Tzitzit are specially knotted ritual fringes, or tassels worn by some Jewish men and boys. Tzitzit are attached to the four corners of the tallit (Jewish prayer shawl).

The tichel is a headscarf worn by some Jewish women. Some women wear them during prayer and religious rituals; some women wear them every day.

The gartel is a belt used by some Jewish men during prayer, particularly from Hasidic communities. "Gartel" is Yiddish for "belt."

Some Jewish men wear a frock coat during prayer and other specific occasions. It is commonly worn by rabbis and Jewish religious leader in public. The coat is known as a frak, a sirtuk, or a kapotteh.

Various formal hats are worn by Jewish men in Orthodox Jewish circles, generally on top of the yarmulke, generally reflecting a particular cultural background, and sometimes reflecting one's age, marital status, rabbinical rank or lineage. In general, hats are only worn on top of the yarmulke after a Jewish male reaches Bar Mitzvah age, although some communities, such as Belz and Viznitz, have boys under Bar Mitzvah age wear caps on top of their yarmulkes known as kasket. Fedoras, generally black with a wide brim, are worn by men from Litvish, Yeshivish, and Chabad-Lubavitch communities, and these are worn by both single and married men. Homburg style hats are often worn by rabbis of higher rank in Litvish and Yeshivish circles. Derby hats are worn by Hasidic men in certain communities, sometimes signifying lay status as opposed to rabbinical status. Biber hats are worn by Hasidic men, both married and unmarried, in certain communities, with varied styles signifying which community one belongs to, or sometimes rabbinical status. Shtreimel hats are worn by married men (or previously married men, such as divorced men and widowers) in many Hasidic communities and the Sabbath, major holidays, and special occasions such as weddings; and by unmarried boys after Bar Mitzvah in certain traditional Jerusalemite communities, such as Toldos Aharon. Spodik hats are worn by married (et al) men in certain Hasidic communities originating in Poland on the same occasions a Shtreimel is worn in other communities, particularly the communities of Gur, Alexander, and Amshinov. Kolpik hats are worn by unmarried boys over Bar mitzvah age who are from Rabbinical families, and by certain Hasidic Rabbis on special occasions that are more than a regular weekday but not warranting the wearing of a Shtreimel, such as lighting Hanukkah candles and conducting a tish on Rosh Chodesh or Tu B'Shvat.

Rekel coats are worn by Hasidic lay men during weekdays, and by some on the Sabbath.

Bekishe coats or robes are worn by Hasidic lay men on Sabbath and holidays, both single and married. In some non-Hasidic communities the Bekishe may be worn as well, either during prayer or at meals, on the Sabbath and holidays. Hasidic Rabbis will wear the Bekishe coat on weekdays as well, with their weekday hats. The Bekishe worn by certain rabbis may have colors other than black, such as white, silver, gold, or blue, and may also be lined with velvet.

The Kittel robe is a white robe worn on certain occasions by married men in Ashkenazic and Hasidic communities, such as Yom Kippur and Passover Seder, and may be worn by those leading prayers (and in some communities by all married men) on Rosh Hashanah, Hoshanah Rabbah, Tefilas Tal, and Tefilas Geshem. A groom will generally wear a kittel during the wedding ceremony as well. In some Sefardic communities, a Rabbi or a Hazzan may wear a similar white robe at weddings and at prayer services.

In Jewish Mysticism, wearing a thin red string (as a type of talisman) is a custom, popularly thought to be associated with Judaism's Kabbalah, in order to ward off misfortune brought about by an "evil eye" (עין הרע in Hebrew). In Yiddish the red string is called a roite bindele. The red string itself is usually made from thin red wool thread. It is worn, or tied, as a type of bracelet or "band" on the left wrist of the wearer (the receiving side).[3]

Interreligious varieties

A Peace Mala is a symbolic bracelet used to promote the message of the Golden Rule of mutual respect recognised by many spiritual paths. It consists of 16 beads, forming a double rainbow, which represent Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam, Judaism, Bahá'í, ISKCON, Zoroastrianism, Tribal and Native Religions, Jainism, Earth Religions, Taoism, Hinduism and Yungdrung Bön, with the central white bead representing the wearer and whatever path they may follow.[3]

See also


  1. Kelley, Dani (2014). "My Headcovering Experiment". Premier. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  2. 1 2 The Discipline of the Evangelical Wesleyan Church. Evangelical Wesleyan Church. 2015. pp. 41, 57–58.
  3. 1 2 "Do you know your awareness bracelets?". BBC News Magazine. 2005-02-04. Retrieved 2008-04-28.
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