The use of color to distinguish liturgical seasons became common practice in the Western Church by about the fourth century. Initially, usages varied widely, but in the 12th century Pope Innocent III systematized the use of five colors: violet, white, black, red and green. The Lutheran and Anglican churches that emerged from the Reformation retained the traditional colors but disappeared entirely (along with most other rituals) from the worship of the Reformed churches. During the 20th century, the ecumenical liturgical movement led to the rediscovery of ancient Christian rituals - including the traditional colors of the Western Church. To this were added blue and gold - colors used in some western rites before the 12th century.
In short, the colors express emotions and ideas associated with each of the seasons of the liturgical year. Violet is the ancient royal color and thus a symbol of Christ's sovereignty. Purple is also associated with repentance from sin. White and gold symbolize the brightness of the day. Black is the traditional color of mourning in some cultures. Red evokes the color of blood and is therefore the color of the martyrs and of Christ's death on the cross. Red also symbolizes fire and is therefore the color of the Holy Spirit. Green is the color of growth. Blue is the color of heaven and honors Mary in some rites.
Congregations in the United Church of Christ are free to use any combination of colors (or no specific colors) as they see fit. However, the use of traditional colors connects us to the broader body of Christ and provides worship planners with visual aids that mark the transition from one season to another. Colors can be used in altar and pulpit decorations, vestments, banners, and tapestries.
The season of Advent is a time of spiritual preparation for the celebration of Christ's birth (Christmas) and looking forward to Christ's future reign. Eschatological expectation rather than personal repentance is the central theme of the season. Advent is more of a preparation for Christmas than a festival, so instead of singing Christmas carols, Advent carols should be sung. The first Sunday in Advent is not the beginning of the Christmas season. The Christmas celebration begins on Christmas Eve and lasts for the next “twelve days of Christmas”.
Purple is usually the liturgical color of Advent, associated with both Christ's sovereignty and penance. Deep Blue is also sometimes used to distinguish the season from Lent. As the color of the night sky, blue symbolizes Christ, who is called “spring of the morning” or spring of the day in an old advent carol. As the color of Mary, blue also reminds us that in Advent the Church is waiting with Mary for the birth of Jesus.
Christmas and Christmas time
The readings of the Lectionary for Christmas and the following twelve days (culminating in the Feast of the Epiphany) invite the Church to reflect on the incarnation (or embodiment) of God as man: "The Word became man and lived among us, and we have seen his glory...” (John 1:14). In Christ, God enters human history and fully identifies himself with the human condition.
The traditional colors of the season are white or gold, symbolizing the joy of daylight.
Season after Epiphany
The post-Epiphany season continues the theme established at Epiphany: spreading the Good News of Christ from its source in the Jewish community to all the nations of the earth. The lectionary, therefore, explores the mission of the church in the world. The theme of this season (along with the sequence of Gospel readings) continues into the period after Pentecost, so that both seasons together can be called "church season". The traditional liturgical color for both seasons, green, is the color of growth.
The traditions of Lent derive from the origin of the season when the Church prepared candidates, or "catechumens," for their baptism into the Body of Christ. It finally became a time of preparation not only for the catechumens but for the whole congregation. Self-examination, study, fasting, prayer, and works of love are disciplines historically associated with Lent. Conversion - literally "turning" or reorienting our lives toward God - is the theme of Lent. Both as individuals and as a community, we look within and reflect on our willingness to follow Jesus on his way to the cross. The forty days of Lent correspond to the forty days of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness and Israel's forty year journey out of slavery into a new community.
On Ash Wednesday, ash is placed on the forehead of the congregation as a sign that we came from dust and will one day return to dust. It is one of many Lent and Easter customs that remind us of our historical connection to Jewish tradition. With this sobering reminder of the fragility of life, we begin a spiritual quest that will continue until the Easter Vigil, when new members of the Church are often baptized and the entire congregation participates in a reaffirmation of baptismal promises. Most of this preparation time is symbolized by the color violet, although the season is bracketed by the mourning black of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. As an alternative to purple, some churches have begun to use brown, beige, or gray (the colors of rough, unbleached fabrics such as burlap) to reflect the mood of penance and simplicity of the season. The somber colors are reminiscent of the unbleached "sackcloth" worn by mourners and penitents in Jewish tradition.
During Holy Week, the congregation follows the footsteps of Jesus from his entry into Jerusalem (Palm/Passion Sunday) through the Last Supper (Maundy Thursday) to his death on the cross (Good Friday). Red, the color of blood and therefore martyr, is the traditional color for Palm/Passion Sunday and the next three days of Holy Week. On Maundy Thursday, white or gold symbolizes the Church's joy in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. But at the end of the Maundy Thursday celebration, the mood changes abruptly: all the decorations are removed and the holy tablet is exposed. The church becomes as empty as a tomb. Either black or red is common on Good Friday – although it is also appropriate to use no color at all. The red of Holy Week is sometimes a deeper red than the brighter scarlet color associated with Pentecost.
Easter and Pentecost
Instead of finding a sealed tomb, the women who came at dawn on Sunday are surprised by an angel who announces amazing news: "Jesus has risen from the dead" (Mt 28:7). The heavenly messenger invites the mourners to see the empty tomb and then go to the disciples and tell them that the Crucified lives!
The period from Easter to Pentecost is also called the Great Fifty Days, a tradition inspired by the Jewish period of fifty days between Passover and Shavuot - the festival celebrating the delivery of the Torah to Moses.
The liturgical color for this season is festive white or gold. When the season ends on Whit Sunday, white is replaced with red. This color reminds the church of fire - the symbol of the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit broke down the barriers of culture and race. The Trinity is celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost, and the color is again white or gold.
season after Pentecost
This longest period of the liturgical year is a continuation of the "church season" that began on the Sunday after Epiphany. It explores the Church's mission and uses the color green, which symbolizes growth. During this season, the lectionary offers two choices for readings from the Hebrew Scriptures: The first, thematic option, selects readings that are thematically related to the epistle or gospel texts. The second, sequential option reads through an entire book of the Hebrew Scriptures in order.
Other holidays and customs
Peony is also the traditional color for Reformation Day on October 31st. White or gold is the color for All Saints' Day on November 1st and is also an alternative to green on the last Sunday after Pentecost - the feast of Christ's Reign.
In other celebrations, there is a tradition of using red to commemorate martyrs and other saints. As the color of the Holy Spirit, it is suitable for ordinations. The colors of Christmas, white or gold, are also common on other feast days celebrating the Incarnation or Resurrection of Christ (Holy Name, Baptism, Presentation, Annunciation, Visitation, Ascension and Transfiguration). For centuries, black was the traditional color for funerals, but for the last fifty years many liturgical churches have preferred to use white or gold - the colors of Easter and therefore of resurrection hope.
What are the liturgical colors of the church year? ›
Traditionally, five basic colors of a festive, penitential, and neutral nature have been used in most liturgical congregations. In recent times, with liturgical renewal, three additional colors (blue, scarlet, and gold) have been added to the basic five of white, red, green, violet or purple, and black.What are the liturgical colours and seasons? ›
- White or gold for Christmas and Easter (the birth and resurrection).
- Purple during Advent and Lent but pink on the 3rd Sunday of Advent and on Laetare Sunday, which is right before Palm Sunday (if I remember correctly). ...
- Red on the feasts of martyrs (obviously, red = blood).
We begin the Liturgical Year on the First Sunday of Advent then move to Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent, Triduum or Three Days, Easter, Pentecost and Ordinary Time again, finishing with the feast of Christ the King.What are the 8 seasons of the liturgical year? ›
- Advent. The season of Advent begins the liturgical year. ...
- Christmas. The Christmas season begins on Christmas day, December 25, 2022, which is known as the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. ...
- Ordinary Time. The season of Ordinary Time is the longest liturgical season and it is divided into two parts. ...
- Lent. ...
- Triduum. ...
The 2022 liturgical year begins on the First Sunday of Advent, November 28, 2021. During the year 2022: a. Sunday, December 12, 2021 is the Third Sunday of Advent, and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is omitted this year.What is the theme of the liturgical year 2022? ›
The Diocese of Burlington will dedicate 2022 as “The Year of Communion: Unity in Creed, Worship and Life” to coincide with the theme Pope Francis has chosen for the next synod of bishops.What are the 7 seasons of the church? ›
The Church calendar observes seven distinct seasons in church life: Advent, Christmastide, Epiphany, Lent, Eastertide, and Ordinary Time. Different liturgical traditions observe slightly different times, but these seven are the primary seasons in the Church year.What are the 4 major liturgical seasons? ›
Generally, the seasons in liturgical western Christianity are Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time (Time after Epiphany), Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time (Time after Pentecost).What are the liturgical seasons and its meaning? ›
The liturgical year is made up of six times and seasons: Advent - four weeks of preparation before the celebration of Jesus' birth. Christmas - recalling the Nativity of Jesus Christ and his manifestation to the peoples of the world. Lent - a six-week period of penance before Easter.What is the most important season in the liturgical year? ›
Easter is the most Important Celebration in the Liturgical Year. The season begins with the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus and continues for the next 50 days, until the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. The colour of the Easter season is white, representing Christ's victory over death.
What are the liturgical seasons of the year? ›
The Church year consists of six liturgical seasons: Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time after Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time after Pentecost. Seasons begin or end based on a movable feast and so some seasons vary in length from year to year, and vary as to the calendar dates.What is the current liturgical color? ›
The liturgical color for this season is celebratory White or Gold. When the season ends on Pentecost Sunday, White is replaced with Red. This color reminds the congregation of fire—the symbol of the Holy Spirit.What are the 9 liturgical seasons? ›
- Weeks of Annunciation (Subara)
- Weeks of Epiphany (Denha)
- Weeks of Great Fast (Sawma Rabba)
- Weeks of Resurrection (Qyamta)
- Weeks of Apostles (Slihe)
- Weeks of Summer (Qaita)
- Weeks of Eliyah-Cross (Eliyah-Sliba)
- Weeks of Moses (Muse)
The liturgical calendar starts each year on the 1st Sunday of Advent. Year A began on the 1st Sunday of Advent in 2022 and now continues in 2023.
Advent / Christmas
Dark blue or purple/violet are typical for this season, and pink is sometimes used for the 3rd week, beginning with Gaudete Sunday—following the colors of the candles on the Advent wreath. For the Christmas season, beginning Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, white is used, or sometimes gold.
The 2023 liturgical year begins on the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2022. During the year 2023: a. Since a Sunday does not occur between December 25, 2022, and January 1, 2023, the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is celebrated on Friday, December 30, with only one reading before the Gospel.What are the three most holy days of the liturgical year? ›
Today is Holy Thursday, the beginning of the most sacred three days of the liturgical calendar, known as the Paschal Triduum: the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, the Passion of our Lord on Good Friday, and the Solemn Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday.What will the year 2022 be dedicated to in the Catholic church? ›
On this same day, Pope Francis will launch the year “Amoris Laetitia Family,” which will conclude on June 26, 2022, during the X Meeting of Families in Rome with the Holy Father. Pope Francis announced the year of “Amoris Laetitia Family during his Angelus Message on the Feast of the Holy Family on December 27, 2020.What is the liturgical season which prepares us for the coming of Jesus? ›
The Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ's second coming at the end of time and to the anniversary of Our Lord's birth on Christmas. From the earliest days of the Church, people have been fascinated by Jesus' promise to come back.What are seasons according to the Bible? ›
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV. Ecclesiastes gives us many examples of seasons we'll face in life: times of birth, death, weeping and joy. The Bible shows us that experiencing good and bad times in our lives is normal and to be expected.
What is the importance of the seasons of the church? ›
church year, also called liturgical year, annual cycle of seasons and days observed in the Christian churches in commemoration of the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and of his virtues as exhibited in the lives of the saints.What are the seasons of faith? ›
A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up.What is the first season of liturgical year? ›
The Roman Catholic Church year begins on the first Sunday in Advent, which is the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Until 1969, after Advent and Christmas, there followed the seasons of Epiphany, Pre-Lent, Lent, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost.What does the liturgical season teach us about our faith? ›
As a Catholic family, the liturgical calendar helps us grow in our relationship with all the Saints as we surround ourselves with the celebration of the life of Christ from the anticipation of his birth (Advent) to the Feast of Christ the King of the Universe (the end of the Church year).What do the liturgical colors represent? ›
White and gold symbolize days and seasons of joy and mark pivotal events in the life of Christ. Red symbolizes the work of the Holy Spirit and the sacrifices of martyrs. Purple (and sometimes blue, in Advent) designates a season of penitence and preparation, such as Lent.What are the colours in Christianity? ›
There is the bright red, representing the spiritual awakening of Moses as he is visited by God. There is also the blue to symbolize the hope and faith Moses had in God. Finally, there is brown, which symbolizes the earth and God's connection to man. We again see two prominent colors in Christian art: Blue and red.What does purple mean in the liturgical year? ›
purple. Purple represents penitence and preparation because it signifies the feeling of sorrow for our sins in the light of Christ's passion and death. The color purple is used during both Advent and Lent. In Lent, purple is used beginning Ash Wednesday and extending through Maundy Thursday.What liturgical year cycle are we currently in? ›
The Sunday cycle is divided into three years, labeled A, B, and C. 2021 was Year B, 2022 is Year C, Year A will being on November 27, 2022 and continue through December 2, 2023. In Year A, we read mostly from the Gospel of Matthew.What are the 6 colors of Christmas? ›
- Green. Evergreen plants, like Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe have been used for thousands of years to decorate and brighten up buildings during the long dark winter. ...
- Red. As mentioned above, an early use of red at Christmas were the apples on the paradise tree. ...
- Gold. ...
- White. ...
- Blue. ...
Why are red and green the traditional Christmas colors, and when were they first used to signify the holidays? Red and green might be best known for their association with Christmas, but as it turns out, they were first linked to a different holiday: the winter solstice.
What are the Colours of Christmas and their meaning? ›
Green, for example, represents the eternal life of Jesus Christ, just as evergreen trees remain green the whole winter long. Likewise, red represents the blood shed by Jesus Christ during his crucifixion.What liturgical year is 2022 in the Catholic Church? ›
The liturgical calendar starts each year on the 1st Sunday of Advent. Year C began on the 1st Sunday of Advent in 2021 and now continues in 2022.What are the 5 liturgical seasons of the Catholic Church? ›
Generally, the seasons in liturgical western Christianity are Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time (Time after Epiphany), Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time (Time after Pentecost).Is this liturgical year AB or C? ›
The Sunday cycle is divided into three years, labeled A, B, and C. 2021 was Year B, 2022 is Year C, Year A will being on November 27, 2022 and continue through December 2, 2023. In Year A, we read mostly from the Gospel of Matthew.What is 2022 2023 the year of in the Catholic Church? ›
Description. The Ordo Calendar of the Imperial Roman Church for liturgical year 2022-2023, the Year of Saint George.What liturgical year is Advent 2023? ›
The 2023 liturgical year begins on the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2022. During the year 2023: a. Since a Sunday does not occur between December 25, 2022, and January 1, 2023, the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is celebrated on Friday, December 30, with only one reading before the Gospel.What liturgical year are we in 2023? ›
The liturgical calendar starts each year on the 1st Sunday of Advent. Year A began on the 1st Sunday of Advent in 2022 and now continues in 2023.
The liturgical year of the Roman Catholic church is often referred to as the Year of Grace, meaning that people should celebrate their unbounded love of God at all times in all places. The year begins with the first Sunday of Advent – four weeks before Christmas.Is Bible in A year 2022 the same as 2021? ›
The newest New Year's Resolution with more staying power
And note, the 2022 version of the podcast is a rerun: a repeat of the daily readings Father Mike Schmitz shared with the world in 2021. Listeners hear the entire Bible in one year (the Catholic Bible includes seven books deleted from Protestant Bibles).
Circa? Often dates will be preceded with a "c." or a "ca." These are abbreviations of the Latin word "circa" which means around, or approximately. We use this before a date to indicate that we do not know exactly when something happened, so c. 400 B.C.E. means approximately 400 years Before the Common Era.
What do the liturgical seasons represent? ›
church year, also called liturgical year, annual cycle of seasons and days observed in the Christian churches in commemoration of the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and of his virtues as exhibited in the lives of the saints.What are the major liturgical seasons? ›
The Church year consists of six liturgical seasons: Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time after Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time after Pentecost. Seasons begin or end based on a movable feast and so some seasons vary in length from year to year, and vary as to the calendar dates.Why do we celebrate the different liturgical seasons? ›
The purpose of the Liturgical Year Calendar is not to mark the passage of time, but to celebrate and understand more fully the entire mystery of Jesus Christ, from his incarnation and birth until his ascension, the day of Pentecost, and the expectation of his return in glory.