The Colours of the Robes

The Infant Jesus, like the priests at the altar, is dressed in robes in the colour of current liturgical season according to the church calendar. Generally, four basic colours are used:

  • White

    The colour of glory, purity, and holiness – for celebrations, Christmas and Easter

  • Red

    The colour of blood and fire – for Holy week, Pentecost and Feasts of the Holy Cross

  • Purple

    The colour of penance – for Lent and Advent

  • Green

    The colour of life and hope – for ordinary time (the most common colour)

On the day of the coronation celebration, the Infant Jesus is dressed in royal robes with an ermine cloak. On special occasions, other colours are used::

  • Pink

    The colour of muted joy – can be used for the third Advent Sunday and the fourth Sunday in Lent

  • Gold

    The colour of feast – can substitute other colours

  • Blue

    Can be sometimes used as a celebration colour, especially for the feast of Our Lady

Layers and Dressing Procedure

First layer is an under-gown – alb. It is a gown from white linen with openings for the arms or with short sleeves. Sometimes it is decorated with simple embroidery or lace. The under-gown is put on over the head and is buttoned up or tied at the back.

Over the alb, a coloured gown is put on. Its design resembles a child’s gown and it is also done up in the back. The front of this gown is richly decorated. The patterns often reflect symbolic Christian motives. The bottom part of this gown is usually finished with lace or other décor.

The top layer is a cloak which is identical to the gown in colour and pattern. The left side is loosely placed over the shoulder, while the front right is folded over the blessing arm so that the bottom part of the cloak is visible. Decorated fabric is used for the left part of the front and for the right part of the reverse. Some cloaks are put over the shoulders without folding, so the pattern is only on the upper part and the reverse side is lined. The decoration is concentrated on upper side areas. The fringes of the cloak are usually decorated similarly to the gown.

Finally, ruffs are put on the arms and around the neck – if it is not part of the under-gown, lace is also used on the ruffs. The Imperial orb is placed in the Infant Jesus’ left hand and a crown is positioned over his head.

The wardrobe of the Infant Jesus consists of approximately a hundred robes of which some are not usable. Most of the robes are gifts of gratitude. It is possible to see part of the Infant Jesus’ wardrobe in our museum, which has free access. The Carmelite Sisters of the Child Jesus are in charge of dressing the Infant Jesus. The Sisters help the Discalced Carmelite Brothers to look after this pilgrimage place.