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

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 Thanksgiving 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 Pentecost Day after Pentecost - Day before Trinity (Jun 1 - 6, 2020) Green
Trinity (Jun 7, 2020) Gold or  White 
Day after Trinity - Saturday after Labour Day (Jun 8 - Sep 12, 2020) Green
Creation Time (Sep 13 - Oct 11, 2020) Orange
Thanksgiving Day - Day before Advent (Oct 12 - Nov 28, 2020) Green
Advent Advent 1 - Christmas Eve (Nov 29 - Dec 24, 2020)  Blue or   Purple 
Christmas Christmas Day - Epiphany (Dec 25, 2020 - Jan 6, 2021) Gold or  White 
Season after Epiphany Day after Epiphany - Shrove Tuesday (Jan 7 - Feb 16, 2021) Green
Lent Ash Wednesday - Day before Palm Sunday (Feb 17 - Mar 27, 2021)  Purple 
Palm Sunday - Maundy Thursday (Mar 28 - Apr 1, 2021) Red or  Purple 
Good Friday - Holy Saturday (Apr 2 - 3, 2021) Black
Easter Easter Sunday - Day before Pentecost (Apr 4 - May 23, 2021) Gold or  White 
Pentecost (May 24, 2021) Red
Season after Pentecost Day after Pentecost - Day before Trinity (May 25 - 29, 2021) Green
Trinity (May 30, 2021) Gold or  White 
Day after Trinity - Saturday after Labour Day (May 31 - Sep 11, 2021) Green
Creation Time (Sep 12 - Oct 10, 2021) Orange
Thanksgiving Day - Day before Advent (Oct 11 - Nov 27, 2021) Green