Monday, February 28, 2011

Special Guest Post - Sort Of

It appears that people are starting to pick up on the fact that I am always looking for ideas for this blog. On Friday, I received a link from my friend "Dad" Zack Panitzke, formerly of Erie Chapter, but now affiliated with E.A. Mroz Chapter in VA.

Zack sent along a video (which is embedded below) that shows how to pack a suit without using a suit bag. I know I hate having to pack an extra bag just for dress clothes, so, this is a fabulous method for packing those tough garments that you can't afford to have wrinkled. Check it out!



Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Friday, February 25, 2011

Trivia with Fezzy: Week 18


Each Friday I am posting a PA DeMolay Blog related trivia question. Each active DeMolay from Pennsylania (excluding Elected State Officers) who correctly posts their answer in the comments section of this blog will be placed in a drawing to receive 5 points for the Take Control! program and receive a special "Fezzy" gamer tag over on the points page! All you have to do is leave your answer in the comments section. On Monday morning I will randomly select one of the correct answers and award the person with the points. Answer every week and rack up some major points - it's that easy!

Remember, the answer to each question can be found right here on the PA DeMolay blog. So, on to the question of the week!

What DeMolay Chapter meets in Falls Church, VA?


P.S. - for those fellows heading out to the PA Youth Group Unity Weekend this Friday through Sunday, you can look forward to a live trivia session with Fezzy and the Brain! Bring your thinking caps!


Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth "Fezzy" Anthony

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Walt Disney, a DeMolay

This has been one of those weeks that I haven't had any burning issues or fabulous ideas to write about. I've been busy trying to pull together programs and information for the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar, which I am going to take a bigger role in beginning in May. I've also thrown myself into starting a new local "chapter" of another Masonic organization, so, I've been pretty darn busy with my side projects. However, I still ponder on things related to DeMolay and recently came across a fabulous article posted on a website relating to Walt Disney and the cartoon community he created.

Titled "Walt and DeMolay," the article discusses what Walt Disney's true involvement in our organization was and just what kind of an impact our fraternity made on this legendary man. While I encourage you to read the whole article, there are two specific quotes that I find really great:

"Walt's involvement with DeMolay meant a great deal to him and he proudly wore a DeMolay ring on his right hand until the late 1940s, when he replaced it with the Royal Claddagh ring, the traditional wedding ring of the Irish since the 17th Century..."


Never underestimate the power of an outward endorsement of an organization. The fact that Bro. Disney wore a DeMolay ring for such a long period of time shows that he had more than just a passing interest in our group.


"In the 1930s another DeMolay member, Fred Spencer of the Walt Disney Studios, began sending an original Mickey Mouse comic strip entitled "Mickey Mouse Chapter" for DeMolay's national newsletter. (break) It was a two-tier black and white comic strip and the first installment has Mickey Mouse creating a poster to get all his barnyard friends to join him in the barn so they can vote on establishing their own chapter of DeMolay, a Mickey Mouse Chapter."


So, even Mickey Mouse was a DeMolay! While our fraternity has changed greatly since the involvement of the likes of Bro. Disney and Bro. Spencer, our mission and values have not. What are you going to do with the rest of your life and what part will DeMolay play in it?


Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, February 21, 2011

Great minds think alike...

On the heels of my article on false humility, the Art of Manliness has posted a blog on "False Pride." The article comes from George Lorimer, an editor at the Saturday Evening Post, published a series of fictional letters in that magazine in which a father, John Graham, imparts advice to his son, Pierrepont, throughout the different stages of the young man’s life. The letters were then compiled in the hugely successful 1901 book letters from a self-made merchant to his son.


Check it out! 


http://artofmanliness.com/2011/02/19/manvotional-letters-from-a-self-made-merchant-to-his-son-no-17-pride/

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Friday, February 18, 2011

Trivia with Fezzy: Week 17


Each Friday I am posting a PA DeMolay Blog related trivia question. Each active DeMolay from Pennsylania (excluding Elected State Officers) who correctly posts their answer in the comments section of this blog will be placed in a drawing to receive 5 points for the Take Control! program and receive a special "Fezzy" gamer tag over on the points page! All you have to do is leave your answer in the comments section. On Monday morning I will randomly select one of the correct answers and award the person with the points. Answer every week and rack up some major points - it's that easy!

Remember, the answer to each question can be found right here on the PA DeMolay blog. So, on to the question of the week!

1. Among Hindus and Buddhists, what is the traditional rite of passage called?


Get answering!

Frat!-"Dad" Seth "Fezzy" Anthony

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Taste of Humble Pie

Last evening I was watching one of my favorite TV programs on DVD. The Tudors, from the Showtime network, is a drama detailing the rise and fall of King Henry VIII of England along with his wives. The show is far from DeMolay appropriate, rating NC-17, but it does have some amazing characters and writing. I've just started in to Season 3, so, I'm pretty far into the series. In the first episode of the season I was struck by an amazingly astute observation by one of the characters. It appeared to relate directly to DeMolay and Masonry!

In this particular scene, a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church is talking to a priest. The priest, who is British born, is needed to write a pamphlet on behalf of the Church denouncing Henry VIII's rule and supporting a recent uprising. The young priest accepts and tries to go on his way to begin working on the pamphlet. The Cardinal stops him and says there is more to talk about. The Cardinal then tells the young man he is also going to be dispatched to France and Spain to act as a papal Legate (or ambassador) in an effort to try to sway the politics in England. Hesitantly, the priest agrees to this as well. The Cardinal then says he has one more matter to discuss. The Cardinal snaps his fingers and an attendant comes over with a biretta (a hat worn by Cardinals) and informs the young priest that he is to be made a Cardinal in exchange for his service. The priest is stunned! He says "I cannot accept this." The Cardinal looks at him, puzzled, and says "Why my son?" The priest responds "Because, I am not worthy." The Cardinal smiles and says "Young man, you have just committed the sin of pride. You are not being humble by denying this promotion. Rather, you are being prideful in thinking that your opinion of yourself is truer and better than that of the Holy Father and the Pope, who has extended this opportunity to you. A display of humility in this way is not humble, it's only self serving to make you feel better about yourself." (Editor's Note - I have paraphrased the actual language as I couldn't find the script or a suitable copy of the video to link to.)

Wow. I have never thought of it that way!

Many times in DeMolay and Masonry we are required to make the  "Humble Speech." Now, sometimes this speech is truly humble and other times it's only a show. Let me explain. When we are given an award or recognition in our lives the first response is usually something about not deserving the award, being totally surprised by it, or that you were only doing what anyone would do. In some cases that truly is how people feel, but more often than not, I'm willing to bet, that those speeches are just public shows of humility from the recipients of the honor. Those recipients are thinking to themselves "I'm glad I got this. I really deserved it. My hard work paid off." However, no one wants to hear a person say "You're darn right you should give this to me, because I earned it!" Rather, we go through the motions of a fake humility speech and accept the award with as much as grace as we can muster. That's what society has taught us to do.

Similarly, every once in a while a person will be nominated for an honor and receive notification as such. The person will then say "I don't deserve this honor and I can't accept it." Or, perhaps they didn't like a recent decision or something else being done by the organization giving the honor and use it as a bargaining chip to make themselves look like a martyr - something like "Well, since you didn't give John this honor last year, I can't accept it now." The only person this  behavior helps is the person who is denying the honor. It makes them feel better and makes them feel like they have leverage in the situation because they can point and say "Look, they tried to honor me, but I stood up for what I thought was right and denied it. Look at me, I'm a martyr for the cause!" While that may sway some people, it usually only serves to damage the relationship between the recipient and the organization. Also, it usually puts the organization in a bind because now they have to answer the tough question of why an individual hasn't been recognized for his achievements, or why the person wouldn't accept the award, thus damaging the group the person has worked so long to improve. Now, who does that really help? The answer is no one.

My Brothers, never commit the sin of prideful humility. When given an award or honor accept it, thank the person or organization offering it, and pledge to work hard and continue to validate their opinion of you. That's how we can all grow and better ourselves, our Lodges, our Chapters, and our lives.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Special Guest Post - Westmoreland Holds Installation

What's that you say? Another guest post? Yes! Not to be outdone by Allentown Chapter, I received this article from Bro. Isaac Holtzer of Westmoreland Chapter about their recent Installation. Thanks for the article, Isaac!

Westmoreland Chapter Order of DeMolay had its Installation of Officers on February 6th, 2011. Leading the way for Westmoreland is Bro. Isaac Holtzer the new Master Councilor. Westmoreland is already winning PA DeMolay competitions, but the new Master Councilor wants to at least place in every competition by Convention 2011. Westmoreland’s first challenge is win DeMolay Madness. With new officers and a great attitude Westmoreland is going to have a great term!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Follow me!


Hey - you there! Yes, you! I bet you've recently come across this blog as a link from another site, haven't you? Perhaps you found us over at freemasonsfordummies.blogspot.com or maybe from www.pademolay.org... either way, how about you click that little link over on the right hand side that says "Follow." All you have to do is sign in with your Google, Yahoo, or various other account and you'll be added to our list of followers. It's pretty darn simple, really...

I want this blog to have at least 100 followers - so, won't you help me out?

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Special Guest Post - Allentown Attends Patriots Class

That's right everyone - this week you get a special bonus post! Over the last couple of months I have been getting some fantastic articles from the members of Allentown Chapter relating to their activities and all the fun their Chapter is having. They really have embraced the idea of Take Control! - including doing their own newsletter and articles. I've been able to post most of them on the website, but the most recent one, an article on Patriots Class, was a bit similar to something I had already posted over at www.pademolay.org. However, I'm always in need of articles and I'd hate to discourage our members by not posting their hard work, so, I've decided to post this article by Bro. Evan Quinter, from Allentown Chapter, right here on the PA DeMolay Blog! Thanks for your hard work Evan! Keep it up!

On Saturday February 12, 2011, several Allentown Chapter members made an exciting trip to see and participate in a real DeMolay induction. On this certain Saturday 5 members, 1 prospect, and 3 advisors traveled to Reading to help out at Patriots Class. Patriots Class is a well known yearly event that was held in Reading, PA.

Allentown Chapter arrived early in the morning to practice the ritual and to rehearse our parts. Once we had finished this we relaxed with some square pizza and various types of sodas. Then, it was on to the real thing.

The participating DeMolays all did their parts successfully and performed awesome ritual. Then, we saw the DeMolay Degree, which was very entertaining. Finally we finished the ritual, ate some last minute snacks and went home after an exhausting day. In the end, it was a good day full of traditional learning experiences and very good pizza.

Editor's Note - The photo attached to this article is from the PA DeMolay coverage of the event. Leave it to a member of Allentown to be making funny faces behind the Deputy State Master Councilor's back. Nice work!   

Monday, February 14, 2011

Clique-ing the Button

Whew! It's been an exhaustive week for me, but I'm glad to say that Convention 2011 is in perfect shape and Patriots Class went off without a hitch! It's always nice to have a productive few days with DeMolay, even if they do require some travel. As I sit here on Monday morning, I look back on the previous week in an effort to find a good topic to discuss. I am once again taken back to my Masonic Week experience. Unfortunately, that trip wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. I had some very poor interactions with the planners of that event. However, their attitudes reminded me of some important lessons. Let me start from the beginning...

Masonic Week is held at a very large hotel in Alexandria, VA - the Hilton Mark Center. As I had never been to this facility before I wanted to go early and check it out. So, after I got into town and settled on Tuesday night, I took "Dad" Panitzke with me and went exploring. As we enter the hotel we immediately see a group of fellows from Pennsylvania seated at a table. We great them and engage in some small talk. As I'm talking to them I notice that they have some regalia from the group I was intending to join. I asked the guys if they had already registered for the ceremony, thinking I might be able to get a head start on the process, which would save me some time in the morning. A gentlemen who I didn't recognize, responds a bit condescendingly with "Well, you would have had to go online to register. You can't just walk in and join." I then stated "Yes sir, I did that." He looks at me and says "Did you get the special invitation to join though?" To which I answer "Yes sir, I have that." He just looks at me blankly and says "Oh. Then you can register in the morning." At this point some of the PA guys jump in and tell me that I will have to register in the morning. Fair enough - that was all the information I was looking for. Being a bit grumpy after that experience, I decided that I should register for my meal ticket and see if there are any activities going on.

I wander over to the main registration desk and get in line. I register for my meal ticket and ask "Are there any hospitality suites or functions available this evening?" The two people sitting at registration look at each other and then one quickly responds with "Um, well, yeah... no, not that we know of." They then gave each other another look, leading me to believe that there were some events being held, but, because they didn't know me, I wasn't going to be given the information about them. I chalk this up to being the new guy and after a few minutes of milling about we decided to go back to "Dad" Panitzke's place to relax.


The next morning I got up and got to the hotel on time and registered for the ceremony. It was amazingly well performed and I greatly enjoyed the experience. Following the induction ceremony, another short ritual piece was held to constitute our new local body, Susquehanna Court No. 74. After another well performed ceremony the crowd broke up to head to lunch. I was standing in the room where the constitution ceremony had taken place and asked one of the other new members to take my picture in my new regalia. He did and then asked me if I would do the same, which I was glad to do. As he was fumbling with his phone, trying to get his camera set up, a guy walks into the room and points at each one of us and says "Are you here for the practice?" We all look at each other and I respond "No, we are just finishing up with the constitution ceremony." The man then responds angrily "Well you need to get out because have a practice we need to start." Not wanting a confrontation, I leave the room. Just as I exit the door, the other fellow who wanted me to take his picture gets his camera all set up and hollers at me to come back in and snap the photo. Thinking it will only take a few seconds, I re-enter the room and get in position to take the photo. As I do this, the man who came in and pushed us out looks at me and says "I thought I told you to get out once already. You need to leave or I am going to make your life miserable." Astonished at this statement, I quickly take the pic and leave. I couldn't believe that a Brother Mason would threaten me over standing in a room to take a picture. This was my last interaction with the organizers of this event. To say it left a bad taste in my mouth would be an understatement. Whomever that man was, I hope he (and the organizers of Masonic Week) know that it's because of him that I will be hard pressed to attend this event in the future. He ruined my first experience with the event and it's hard to break first impressions. I hope that they read this and realize just how poorly they treat some of their attendees.

Now, what does this long story have to do with DeMolay? As I wrapped up my week I was planning Convention 2011. Having just come off of my first experience with a new event, I was immediately struck with thoughts of how we can make our Convention the most friendly experience possible, especially for first time attendees. As we spend so much time around the DeMolay program, we can easily forget that new people don't know all the ins and outs. We can get frustrated with their lack of knowledge. We tend to ignore those we don't know. When we get together, it's easy to run off into our groups of friends, forgetting those who may  feel left out and unappreciated simply because they are new.

As a fraternal organization, it is the responsibility of every member and advisor to ensure that each and every person who attends a DeMolay function, whether it be a home Chapter meeting, a state sports tournament, or Convention 2011, feel like they not only matter, but are the most important guest in the world. When members don't come back we often wonder "Why?" I can tell you why! It's because they didn't feel appreciated, wanted, or that their wants and opinions mattered. I can assure you that Convention 2011 is going to be as "newbie" friendly as possible. Can you assure me that your Chapter is going to be the same way?

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Friday, February 11, 2011

Trivia with Fezzy: Week 16


Each Friday I am posting a PA DeMolay Blog related trivia question. Each active DeMolay from Pennsylania (excluding Elected State Officers) who correctly posts their answer in the comments section of this blog will be placed in a drawing to receive 5 points for the Take Control! program and receive a special "Fezzy" gamer tag over on the points page! All you have to do is leave your answer in the comments section. On Monday morning I will randomly select one of the correct answers and award the person with the points. Answer every week and rack up some major points - it's that easy!


Remember, the answer to each question can be found right here on the PA DeMolay blog. So, on to the question of the week!


Who composes the Supreme Council of DeMolay International?



Get working!


Frat!-"Dad" Seth "Fezzy" Anthony

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Boy is Back In Town

I'm back from my whirl-wind trip of Masonic Week, after which I'm pretty tired. It was a good trip, though. I was one of the first 175(ish) people to join the Masonic Order of Athelstan in the England, Wales, and Provinces overseas, and became one of the first members of Susquehanna Court No. 74, domiciled in Allentown, PA. I'm also pretty sure that I am the youngest member of the group here in the United States. If you're really interested in what all that is, you can check out http://www.athelstan.org.uk/.


I didn't just do Masonic stuff while I was on my little trip - DeMolay got some time too. After a long day of Masonic goodness in Alexandria, I drove  back to Fairfax to spend some time with "Dad" Zack Panitzke before coming back to PA. He suggested we go to his local Chapter's ritual practice so I could see some of the guys from Key Man 2010. On the way we snagged "Dad" Peter Brusoe, Past International Master Councilor and Chief Operating Officer for Nation's Capital DeMolay. A short dash later found us in Falls Church, VA, home to E.A. Mroz Chapter, which meets at Kemper-Macon Ware Lodge. The Chapter had a great ritual practice and I especially enjoyed catching up with the guys and their advisors. I even did a little Key Man sales pitch for the members that were there. Hopefully we see them at Key Man 2011! 




Following my visit, "Dad"'s Brusoe, Panitzke, and myself all stopped by the Fez Bistro for a fantastic dinner of Moroccan cuisine. I ended up leaving VA about 10:30 Wednesday night, pulling back into Elizabethtown at 1 a.m. on Thursday.


My travel doesn't stop there, though! Tomorrow I'm trekking North with part of the Convention staff to work on Convention 2011 (held at the Mountain Laurel Resort in White Haven, PA.) From there, we'll shoot back down South for Patriots Class on Saturday. I hope to see everyone there!


Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This weeks forecast: Sporadic Posting

Good day everybody!

This is just a quick update to let you know that I will probably be a little off kilter when it comes to posting for the next week or so. Beginning today, I'm hitting the road for the next 5 (ish) days. This afternoon I'll be heading down to Alexandria, VA, to attend the annual Masonic Week activities. What is Masonic Week? Well, in short, it's an annual event where several small Masonic groups get together and host joint meetings. You can find out more here. During this trip, I'll be staying with "Dad" Zack Panitzke, who has assured me that I will be enjoying some time with the fellows of Virginia DeMolay as well (possibly at a ritual practice.)

I'm heading back to PA late on Wednesday or early on Thursday, which should put me back in the office for at least a short bit on Thursday afternoon. Then, on Thursday evening, "Dad's" Panitzke and Morse (Assistant Directors of Convention) will be invading Patton Campus so that we can get up nice and early on Friday to head to the Mountain Laurel Resort in White Haven, PA (the site of Convention 2011.) We'll be staying there Friday night, only to get up and head down to Reading for the annual Patriots Class on Saturday.

It's going to be a whirlwind week, but one I'm greatly looking forward to!

Oh, and don't worry guys, there will still be Fezzy Trivia on Friday!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lessons on Life with Atticus Finch

I'm always on the lookout for good articles about what it means to be a man. One of my usual hot spots for articles like this is the Art of Manliness blog. As usual, they have posted a fantastic piece relating what it means to be a man; this time, they used a metaphor that is particularly apt. When we think of manly men, we rarely conjure up a picture of Atticus Finch, the lead character in the book "To Kill a Mockingbird." However, Brett McKay, the author of Art of Manliness, has done a fantastic job relating Atticus' style to what it means to be a man.

My favorite part of the article is the discussion on moral courage. What does it mean to have courage that isn't tied to winning a fight, or charging forward with reckless abandon? Atticus is one of the bravest characters in all of literature, but in a way that is completely different from what we are taught to think is the meaning of the word "brave."

Go over and have a read! It's good stuff!

http://artofmanliness.com/2011/02/02/lessons-in-manliness-from-atticus-finch/

If you've ever had to read this book for school, or perhaps just on your own, you can now think of it in a whole new light! What was your favorite part of this article?

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Friday, February 4, 2011

Trivia with Fezzy: Week 15


Each Friday I am posting a PA DeMolay Blog related trivia question. Each active DeMolay from Pennsylania (excluding Elected State Officers) who correctly posts their answer in the comments section of this blog will be placed in a drawing to receive 5 points for the Take Control! program and receive a special "Fezzy" gamer tag over on the points page! All you have to do is leave your answer in the comments section. On Monday morning I will randomly select one of the correct answers and award the person with the points. Answer every week and rack up some major points - it's that easy!

Remember, the answer to each question can be found right here on the PA DeMolay blog. So, on to the question of the week!

1. What does WIIFM stand for?


This is an easy one!

Frat!-"Dad" Seth "Fezzy" Anthony

2010 Year End FINAL Membership Stats

BREAKING   NEWS !


From: Jeff Kitsmiller (Executive Director of DeMolay International)
Sent: Thu 2/3/2011 3:23 PM
To: Thomas Labagh (a pleased Executive Officer, who still thinks we could have done a lot better)
Subject: 2010 Membership Stats


CONGRATULATIONS to the top ten (10) Jurisdictions for initiating the most new members in 2010


Missouri..........183
Southern California..........161
Ohio..........144
Northern California/Hawaii.....140
Texas..........132
Oklahoma..........116
Pennsylvania..........104
Italy..........97
Florida..........95
Indiana..........85


CONGRATULATIONS to these Jurisdiction for achieving positive growth in 2010


Missouri..........+55
Italy..........+50
South America..........+38
Florida..........+34
Southern California..........+33
Oklahoma..........+21
Atlantic Provinces, New Hampshire, and Ohio..........+14 Each
Texas..........+13
Arizona and Wisconsin..........+12 Each
Manitoba (DeCan) and Vermont..........+11 Each
Montana..........+8
Nebraska and Tennessee..........+6 Each
Mississippi and West Virginia..........+5 Each
Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania..........+4 Each
Georgia and Ontario (DeCan)..........+3 Each
South Dakota..........+2
Maryland..........+1


CONGRATULATIONS to the top DeMolay Chapters for initiating new members


Initiates..........Chapter Name (Jurisdiction)
71..........Bucuresti Chapter (Italy)
29..........Jerusalen No. 2 Chapter (South America)
23..........Edward W. Slade Chapter (Connecticut) and Excalibur Chapter (Oklahoma)
20..........St. Charles Chapter (Missouri)
19..........Hamilton Chapter (Ohio), Highland Park Chapter (Oklahoma),
..........Phoenix Chapter (New Jersey), Van Wert Chapter (Ohio), and
..........West Newton Chapter (Indiana)
17..........Alpha Chapter (Missouri), Cecil Brown Chapter (Vermont), and
..........Steel City Chapter (Indiana)
16..........Edmond Chapter (Oklahoma), Keene Chapter (New Hampshire),
..........Mochila Chapter (Missouri), and Reagan Chapter (Texas)
15..........Frederick Chapter (Maryland), Long Beach Chapter (Southern California), and
..........Waynesville Chapter (Missouri)
14..........Clarksburg Chapter (West Virginia), Excelsior Chapter (Missouri),
..........John Wayne Chapter (Texas), Knoxville Chapter (Tennessee),
..........Madison-Oneida Chapter (New York), and Northeast Chapter (Pennsylvania)
13..........Atlantic Provinces at Large Chapter (Atlantic Provinces {DeCan}) and
..........South Coastal Chapter (Massachusetts)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Closer Look at Regalia: Part 2 - Collars

One of the very few "perks" of being an Elected State Officer is the collar of office that goes with each position. Most guys look at the collar as a symbol of status, success, or just plain "bling." Honestly, having served as ESO myself, I can tell you that sometimes they are more akin to choke collars that make it easier for "Dad" Labagh to get a hold of you (figuratively of course.) I can also say that the weight of the collar around your neck is a constant reminder of the weight on your shoulders to do your job and make PA DeMolay grow. The current collars the ESO's wear date back to the 1980's and could never be properly replaced. They have become true symbols of PA DeMolay, as unique to us as they can be. But, when we are out in public, or perhaps getting news coverage in other media, many people look at the collar and go "what is that?" This often made me wonder, just where does this tradition of wearing a collar come from?

For DeMolay, it simply comes from the Masonic fraternity. I know of very few Masonic organizations that don't wear collars at some level. Whether it be in your local Blue Lodge, in a Royal Arch Chapter, or at the uppermost levels of the Scottish Rite, almost every group has a collars of their own. The collars are usually used to denote what office a person holds and is a constant reminder of the duties one has been entrusted with. So, if the Masonic fraternity taught DeMolay to wear collars, who taught the Masonic fraternity to do so? Enter medieval England!

In England, as well as other European countries, it became commonplace for anyone holding a position of authority or power to wear a collar of office as a symbol. These were termed "livery collars." They were usually made of gold or some other precious metal and were adorned with a symbol of office that denoted fealty or allegiance to a person or institution. The oldest of these collars that still exists is the Collar of Esses, which has been in continuous use since the 14th century. The Collar of Esses started as a royal collar in England and is often used in movies and films to denote the Tudor time period. Interestingly, you'd think that "Esses" was a place, but no! "Esses" is just a clever name for the item that is made up of "S" shaped links!  As collars began to rise in popularity, they soon began to be adopted by groups outside of royalty.

The age of chivalry happened to coincide with this uptake of ornamental neck pieces and soon any knightly order worth its weight had a collar of its own for members to wear. The custom was begun by Philip III, Duke of Burgundy, who gave his knights of the Golden Fleece badges of a golden fleece hung from a collar of flints, steels and sparks. In England, until the reign of Henry VIII, the Order of the Garter, most ancient of the great knightly orders, had no collar. But the Tudor king must needs match in all things with continental sovereigns, and the present collar of the Garter knights, with its golden knots and its buckled garters enclosing white roses set on red roses, has its origin in the Tudor age. 


Originally, most knightly orders only had one rank. You were either a knight or not. Then the invention of the "Grand Cross" came about and a rank structure was born. Masonry is very fond of the idea of "Grand Crosses" and many Masonic groups give them as a symbol of extreme devotion and service. This includes DeMolay; "Dad" Samuel C. Williamson, Grand Treasurer Emeritus and Past Executive Officer of PA DeMolay, is one of a select number of bearers of the DeMolay Grand Cross. But, I digress, back to collars!


In other situations a collar is the insignia of office of the Grand Master of the order; the French president therefore wears the collar of the Order of the L├ęgion d'honneur. In other countries such as Brazil the collar is a rank above that of a Grand Cross and it is reserved for the president and foreign heads of state. Once the idea of monarchies became ill advised, the collar soon spread to elected offices throughout the land. It is still common for Mayors in England and European countries to wear a collar to denote their office. In the U.S., as a symbol of our break from old world traditions, this custom was done away with and today the collar is almost non-existent in the U.S. outside of fraternal groups.


As an aside, I can safely say that the PA DeMolay collars remain some of my favorite among the several hundred different varieties that I have seen. However, one other collar sticks out in my mind for uniqueness and interest; the collar used by Georgia DeMolay for it's Priory of Knighthood (an old additional DeMolay group that we no longer use in PA.) Check it out at left!


There you have it! A short and concise background on collars. Special thanks to Wikipedia, where I found much of this information. The next type of regalia I plan on tackling is capes, so, stay tuned!


Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony