Colors of Liturgical Seasons

posted by Webmaster on November 8, 2023

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Introduction to Colors of Liturgical Seasons

The Catholic Church uses various colors which are assigned to the liturgical seasons of the year, feast days, and sacraments. Liturgical colors are used on sacred vestments, but they also can be used on banners, altar frontals, the ambo – a place in a Catholic Church from which Scripture is read and the homily often is given – and sometimes the veil over the chalice.

In the liturgical calendar, the color for each day corresponds to that day's main liturgical celebration, even though Optional Memorials (perhaps with a different color) might be chosen instead. The four main colors are white, red, green, and violet. Other colors include rose, black, gold or silver.

Some color variations are allowed based on culture's tradition.

In the Latin Church and Western churches, our liturgical year begins with Advent - the fourth Sunday before Christmas.

The following is an explanation for use of specific colors.

Videos of the colors of liturgical seasons can be viewed here.

liturgical colors illustration


Green represents life and of hope. Its color is used during the liturgical season of Ordinary time.

Red represents blood, fire of God's love, martyrdom, and Jesus' passion. Its color is used during Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Pentecost Sunday; celebrations of the Lord's Passion, of Apostles, and of Evangelists; celebrations of Martyrs.

White represents innocence, light, triumph, festivity and rejoicing. Its color is used during Christmas Time and Easter Time; celebrations of the Lord (except of his Passion), of Mary, of the Angels, and of Saints who were not Martyrs; solemnities of the Most Holy Trinity (Sun. after Pentecost), of All Saints Day, and of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist; feasts of the Conversion of St. Paul, of the Chair of St. Peter, and of St. John.

Violet represents prayer, penance and humility. Its color is used during the two penitential seasons of Advent and Lent.

Black represents death. Its color is used in Masses for the deceased.

Rose represents joy. Rose is used on Gaudete Sunday (the 3rd Sunday of Advent) and on Laetare Sunday (the 4th Sunday of Lent). It symbolizes a lightening of the penance of these seasons, and reminds us that Christmas and Easter are not far away.

Gold & Silver represents solemnity. These colors are used optionally and are permitted in the United States for more solemn occasions.

We hope you've enjoyed this article, Colors of Liturgical Seasons. Have a blessed day! +

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