View The Meanings Of The Six Catholic Liturgical Colors.

View The Meanings Of The Six Catholic Liturgical Colors.
View The Meanings Of The Six Catholic Liturgical Colors.

Explore the six Catholic liturgical colors’ significance.

The Catholic Church is full of seasons. Each seasons are designed with beautiful colors that typified their meaning. We have six liturgical seasons in the catholic church and they include the following: 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.

The current six liturgical colors, which include rose and violet/purple, were codified in 1570 with the promulgation of the Roman Missal after the Council of Trent. Gold and silver are allowed on special occasions.


View The Meanings Of The Six Catholic Liturgical Colors.


Symbolizes: penance, preparation, sacrifice.

When used: Advent, Lent; may be used for funeral Masses. Purple originally was associated with royalty, because it was a more expensive color to dye. Over time, it became associated with penance. It’s more appropriate to use violet during Advent and a more reddish purple during Lent. The red evokes the Lord’s passion while the more bluish color calls to mind Mary’s essential role in salvation history.

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Symbolizes: purity, joy, light, glory.

When used: Christmas and Easter seasons; Holy Thursday; the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity; the feasts of Our Lord (excluding those relating to His passion), the Virgin Mary, the angels and the saints who are not martyrs; and the feasts of All Saints (Nov. 1), St. John the Baptist (June 24), St. John the Evangelist (Dec. 27), the Chair of St. Peter (Feb. 22) and the Conversion of St. Paul (Jan. 25).

White is used at nuptial Masses (mass celebrated as part of a wedding ceremony) and baptisms, and may be used at funerals. White also is allowed for days special to a given parish or region, such as a parish feast day or anniversary. Gold or silver also may be used for solemn occasions.

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Symbolizes: hope, life, anticipation.

When used: Ordinary time, a season focused on the Lord’s three-year public ministry, His teachings and miracles; a reminder that the mission of the church is to share the hope and life of Christ with the world.


Symbolizes: anticipation, rejoicing.

When used: Gaudete Sunday (the third Sunday of Advent) and Laetare Sunday (fourth Sunday of Lent). Both “gaudete” and “laetare” are variations of “to rejoice” in Latin. The Sundays occur at the midpoint of Advent and Lent and are a reminder of the upcoming joyful events. They also offer a “change of tonality” within the respective seasons.

5. RED

Symbolizes: blood, fire, passion.

When used: Representing blood, the church assigns this color to Palm Sunday, Good Friday, the celebration of the Lord’s passion, the birthday feast days of apostles and evangelists, and the celebration of martyred saints. As a symbol of the Holy Spirit and the burning fire of God’s love, red also is used on Pentecost Sunday, the sacrament of confirmation and the votive Masses of the Holy Spirit.

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Symbolizes: death, mourning.

When used: , it may be used at funeral Masses, the feast of All Souls or the anniversary of the death of a loved one. Following Vatican II, white is the preferred color since it reminds us of the Resurrection and our baptism.


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.

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