Purpose of dressing the statue
The ancient tradition of dressing the grace-giving statue of Infant Jesus is intended to bring Jesus closer to the faithful as a real human being. It helps us to experience the closeness of Jesus and to express our love and reverence. It is not a case of idolatry, for the statue is not alive and it serves only as a reminder and a means of enabling a spiritual encounter with the living Christ.
The statue itself represents Jesus as a very small child, wearing a simple gown. This statue, sublime in its simplicity, is dressed in a white alb and royal robes to express the thought that is common to all Christians, that this child is a king of the house of David, and, what is more, that Jesus is Son of God and God himself, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Infant Jesus of Prague has been dressed in different clothes from time immemorial, and people know him best in his royal robes. Most of his outfits are gifts of thanksgiving. The wardrobe numbers around a hundred costumes, some of which are incomplete or unusable. Some of the costumes can be seen in the museum, which the public can visit free of charge. The task of changing Infant Jesus’ robes is entrusted to the Carmelite Sisters of the Child Jesus, who help the Discalced Carmelite Fathers to look after this place of pilgrimage.
Colors of the robes
The robes of Infant Jesus of Prague are changed so that the color corresponds to the liturgical season, which is governed by the church calendar. Four basic colors are normally used:
White – festive color of purity and holiness – for feast days and the Easter and Christmas periods
Red – color of blood and fire, royal color – for Holy Week, Pentecost time and feasts of the Holy Cross
Violet – solemn color symbolising repentance – for the Lenten and Advent seasons
Green – color of life and hope – for ordinary time (color used most often)
On the feast of his coronation Infant Jesus is usually dressed in royal robes with an ermine mantle. On special occasions other colors are used:
Rose – color of subdued joy – may be used on the third Sunday of Advent and the fourth Sunday of Lent
Gold – festive color – may replace other colors
Blue – sometimes used as a festive color, especially for feasts of Our Lady