February 18 - Why Colors?
May 23, 2018, 4:26 PM

Why do we have different colored cloths on the pulpit and altar Bible?


The use of colors in the church – including stained glass windows and various designs as decoration – go back to the early church when most people could not read. The colors and symbols tell the stories of what we believe and what is going on in the church. The church has four colors used in the decorations and services – purple, white, red, and green.

The church year begins with Advent, the four Sundays before Christmas. The color for Advent is purple. Purple represents “preparation, self-examination, and repentance (turning from sin).” Purple is also used in Lent, the springtime season of seven Sundays before Easter. Both Advent and Lent are times to prepare for the celebration of Jesus by examining where we are in our faith.

After Advent comes Christmas – celebrated from December 25th to January 6th (the twelve days of Christmas). The color for Christmas is white. White represents “joy and purity or holiness.” White is also used at Easter, following Lent. The Easter season is observed for fifty days, until Pentecost Sunday, but many churches use white for only three Sundays – Easter and the two Sundays following. Both Christmas and Easter celebrate the presence of Christ, his birth and resurrection.

Easter ends with Pentecost Sunday. The color for Pentecost is red. Red represents “the presence of the Holy Spirit,” the color reminding us of the flames of the Spirit mentioned in Acts 2:3. Red is also used on any Sunday where the presence of the Holy Spirit might be the focus.

All other Sundays in the year are considered Common Time. The color for Common Time is green. The color reminds us of “growth.” We are to grow in our faith and grow spiritually during most Sundays.

The colors may be used on other Sundays depending on what the focus of the day happens to be. Purple may be used for funerals or days of memorial. White may be used for weddings. White or red may be used for baptisms or Communion, as well as special days such as Assumption Sunday, Transfiguration Sunday, and Christ the King Sunday.


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