Ste-Geneviève United Church (Ste-Genny's)

New life in hope

Liturgical Colours

The United Church of Canada does not prescribe a particular set of colours for vestments and church decorations. A number of colour schemes have been used in recent centuries, some of which are quite complex. They were first mentioned in the twelfth century.

Liturgical colours draw the attention of worshipers to the rhythms of the liturgical year. However, schemes for the use of colour should be regarded as suggestions and not as absolute rules.

The use of red as sign of blood and fire is easily explained, as is the use of white for purity in some cultures. Reasons for the use of other colours are less accessible. In practice, gold is often substituted for white and may suggest more immediately the glory implied by the major feasts for which white is designated.

The scheme of white, green, violet (purple), and red (and also black) was first legislated in rubrics by Pope Pius V in 1570, but local customs persisted for a long time. It became popular outside the Roman Catholic Church during the last century. Blue was added for the season of Advent because it is an ancient liturgical colour and was chosen to distinguish Advent from the season of Lent, whose character is different.

Above information is from the Canadian Church Calendar, when it was published jointly by The United Church of Canada and The Anglican Church of Canada. Creation Time, the time from the Sunday after Labour Day until the Reigh of Christ Sunday, is not a church season but a period when congregations celebrate that creation is an integral part of the Christian Year, as described at this United Church of Canada site. Further information about liturgical colours can be found at The Voice, published by the Christian Resource Institute, and the Vanderbilt Divinity Library website. The table below shows a colour scheme for the different seasons, adapted from these sources.

Season Period Colour
Season after Epiphany Day after Epiphany - Shrove Tuesday (Jan 7 - Mar 5, 2019) Green
Lent Ash Wednesday - Day before Palm Sunday (Mar 6 - Apr 13, 2019)  Purple 
Palm Sunday - Maundy Thursday (Apr 14 - 18, 2019) Red or  Purple 
Good Friday - Holy Saturday (Apr 19 - 20, 2019) Black
Easter Easter Sunday - Day before Pentecost (Apr 21 - Jun 8, 2019) Gold or  White 
Pentecost (Jun 9, 2019) Red
Season after Pentecost Day after Pentecost - Day before Trinity (Jun 10 - 15, 2019) Green
Trinity (Jun 16, 2019) Gold or  White 
Day after Trinity - Saturday after Labour Day (Jun 17 - Sep 7, 2019) Green
Creation Time (Sep 8 - Oct 13, 2019) Orange
October 14 - Day before Advent (Oct 14 - Nov 30, 2019) Green
Advent Advent 1 - Christmas Eve (Dec 1 - 24, 2019)  Blue or   Purple 
Christmas Christmas Day - Epiphany (Dec 25, 2019 - Jan 6, 2020) Gold or  White 
Season after Epiphany Day after Epiphany - Shrove Tuesday (Jan 7 - Feb 25, 2020) Green