A religious habit is a distinctive set of religious clothing worn by members of a religious order. Traditionally some plain garb recognizable as a religious habit has also been worn by those leading the religious eremitic and anchoritic life, although in their case without conformity to a particular uniform style.
In the typical Roman Catholic or Anglican orders, the habit consists of a tunic covered by a scapular and cowl, with a hood for monks or friars and a veil for nuns; in other orders it may be a distinctive form of cassock for men, or a distinctive habit and veil for women. Modern habits are sometimes eschewed in favor of a simple business suit. Catholic Canon Law requires only that it be in some way identifiable so that the person may serve as a witness of Gospel values. This requires flexibility and creativity. For instance in Turkey, a Franciscan might wear street clothes.
In many orders, the conclusion of postulancy and the beginning of the novitiate is marked by a ceremony, during which the new novice is accepted then clothed in the community's habit by the superior. In some cases the novice's habit will be somewhat different from the customary habit: for instance, in certain orders of women that use the veil, it is common for novices to wear a white veil while professed members wear black, or if the order generally wears white, the novice wears a grey veil. Among some Franciscan communities of men, novices wear a sort of overshirt over their tunic; Carthusian novices wear a black cloak over their white habit.
In some orders, different types or levels of profession are indicated by differences in habits.
Kya (Sanskrit? kya; Pali: kas?va; Chinese: ; pinyin: ji?sh?; Cantonese Jyutping: gaa1saa1; Japanese: kesa; Korean: gasa; Vietnamese: cà-sa), "chougu" (Tibetan) are the robes of Buddhist monks and nuns, named after a brown or saffron dye. In Sanskrit and Pali, these robes are also given the more general term c?vara, which references the robes without regard to color.
Buddhist kya are said to have originated in India as set of robes for the devotees of Gautama Buddha. A notable variant has a pattern reminiscent of an Asian rice field. Original kya were constructed of discarded fabric. These were stitched together to form three rectangular pieces of cloth, which were then fitted over the body in a specific manner. The three main pieces of cloth are the antarv?sa, the uttar?sa?ga, and the sa?gh?ti. Together they form the "triple robe," or tric?vara. The tric?vara is described more fully in the Therav?da Vinaya (Vin 1:94 289).
A robe covering the upper body. It is worn over the undergarment, or antarv?sa. In representations of the Buddha, the uttar?sa?ga rarely appears as the uppermost garment, since it is often covered by the outer robe, or sa?gh?ti.
The sa?gh?ti is an outer robe used for various occasions. It comes over the upper robe (uttar?sa?ga), and the undergarment (antarv?sa). In representations of the Buddha, the sa?gh?ti is usually the most visible garment, with the undergarment or uttar?sa?ga protruding at the bottom. It is quite similar in shape to the Greek himation, and its shape and folds have been treated in Greek style in the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandh?ra.
Other items that may have been worn with the triple robe were:
In India, variations of the kya robe distinguished different types of monastics. These represented the different schools that they belonged to, and their robes ranged widely from red and ochre, to blue and black.
Between 148 and 170 CE, the Parthian monk An Shigao came to China and translated a work which describes the color of monastic robes utilized in five major Indian Buddhist sects, called Dà B?qi? S?nqi?n W?iyí (Ch. ?). Another text translated at a later date, the ?ariputraparip?cch?, contains a very similar passage corroborating this information, but the colors for the Sarv?stiv?da and Dharmaguptaka sects are reversed.
|Nik?ya||Dà B?qi? S?nqi?n W?iyí||?ariputraparip?cch?|
According to Dudjom Rinpoche from the tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, the robes of fully ordained Mah?sghika monastics were to be sewn out of more than seven sections, but no more than twenty-three sections. The symbols sewn on the robes were the endless knot (Skt. ?r?vatsa) and the conch shell (Skt. ?a?kha), two of the Eight Auspicious Signs in Buddhism.
In Chinese Buddhism, the kya is called g?s? (Ch. ). During the early period of Chinese Buddhism, the most common color was red. Later, the color of the robes came to serve as a way to distinguish monastics, just as they did in India. However, the colors of a Chinese Buddhist monastic's robes often corresponded to their geographical region rather than to any specific schools. By the maturation of Chinese Buddhism, only the Dharmaguptaka ordination lineage was still in use, and therefore the color of robes served no useful purpose as a designation for sects, the way that it had in India.
The Eastern Orthodox Church does not have distinct religious orders such as those in the Catholic Church. The habit (Greek?, Sch?ma) is essentially the same throughout the world. The normal monastic color is black, symbolic of repentance and simplicity. The habits of monks and nuns are identical; additionally, nuns wear a scarf, called an apostolnik. The habit is bestowed in degrees, as the monk or nun advances in the spiritual life. There are three degrees: (1) the beginner, known as the Rassaphore ("robe bearer") (2) the intermediate, known as the Stavrophore ("cross bearer"), and (3) the Great Schema worn by Great Schema Monks or Nuns. Only the last, the Schemamonk or Schemanun, the monastic of the highest degree, wears the full habit.
The habit is formally bestowed upon monks and nuns at the ceremony known as the tonsure. The parts of the Eastern Orthodox habit are:
The portions of the habit worn by the various degrees of monastics is as follows:
|Inner Rason||Inner Rason||Inner Rason|
|Outer Rason||Outer Rason||Outer Rason|
|Mantle (Russian use only)||Mantle|
Inner Rason worn by Polish Orthodox Church cleric
Female ascetics and Svetambara male monks always wear un-stitched or minimally stitched white clothes. Digambara Jain monks do not wear clothes. A loin cloth which reaches up to the shins is called a Cholapattak. Another cloth to cover the upper part of the body is called Pangarani (Uttariya Vastra). A cloth that passes over the left shoulder and covers the body up to a little above the ankle is called a Kïmli. Kïmli is a woolen shawl. They also carry a woolen bed sheet and a woolen mat to sit on. Those who wear clothes have a muhapati, which is a square or rectangular piece of cloth of a prescribed measurement, either in their hand or tied on their face covering the mouth. Svetambara ascetics have an Ogho or Rajoharan (a broom of woolen threads) to clean insects around their sitting place or while they are walking. Digambara ascetics have a Morpichhi and a Kamandal in their hands. This practice may vary among different sects of Jains but essential principle remains the same to limit needs.
§25 ... The Church must always seek to make her presence visible in everyday life, especially in contemporary culture, which is often very secularized and yet sensitive to the language of signs. In this regard the Church has a right to expect a significant contribution from consecrated persons, called as they are in every situation to bear clear witness that they belong to Christ.
Since the habit is a sign of consecration, poverty and membership in a particular Religious family, I join the Fathers of the Synod in strongly recommending to men and women religious that they wear their proper habit, suitably adapted to the conditions of time and place.
Where valid reasons of their apostolate call for it, Religious, in conformity with the norms of their Institute, may also dress in a simple and modest manner, with an appropriate symbol, in such a way that their consecration is recognizable.
Institutes which from their origin or by provision of their Constitutions do not have a specific habit should ensure that the dress of their members corresponds in dignity and simplicity to the nature of their vocation.
The religious habit of Roman Catholic nuns typically consists of the following elements:
Different orders adhered to different styles of dress; these styles have changed over time. In the 12th century the German abbess Hildegard von Bingen, for example, advocated a style for her nuns that included extravagant and lavish white silk habits worn with golden head pieces designed to present the nun to Christ in her most beautiful form.
Usually, priests wear black or another dark color along with a white clerical collar. A cassock is worn in more formal situations. White may be worn in warmer climates. A priest is ceremonially given their habit, and it symbolizes that they are a part of the church. Also, a ferraiolo (a kind of cope) is worn along with the cassock on very formal occasions, priests also traditionally wear a biretta on the head.
The religious habit of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd (and also of the Sisters from the Order of Our Lady of Charity) is white, with a white scapular, a black veil and a large silver heart on the breast.
The religious habit of the Sisters of Mary Reparatrix is white, with a blue scapular, a white and blue veil and a large golden heart on the breast.
The religious habit of the Norbertine Sisters of the Order of Canons Regular of Prémontré.
The religious habit of the Benedictines is black (the style varies depending upon the monastery).
The religious habit of the Carthusians is white (a novice wears a black cloak over the white Carthusian habit). It's also used by the Monks and Sisters of Bethlehem, of the Assumption of the Virgin and of Saint Bruno.
The religious habit of the Dominicans is black and white.
The religious habit of the Sisters of the Annunciation is white, with a red scapular and a black veil.
The religious habit of the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Immaculate is gray-blue. (The image shown is, however, from an un-related Community)
The religious habit of the Trinitarian Order is white with a distinctive cross with a blue horizontal bar and a red vertical bar.
The religious habit of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament is white, with a red scapular and a black veil.
Nuns belonging to the Daughters of Charity
Religious habit of a Trappist monk.
Religious habit of a Premonstratensian canon.
Pauline Pius Prze?dziecki
The habit used by the Hieronymites monks (Order of Saint Jerome)
The Mercedarians wear white.