A few years ago, I led a congregation in learning more about the church year. Working with the faith formation and worship committee, we created a mini wreath for each church attendee with pony beads to help them notice the colors of the church year. The mini circle had 13 colors on it. These represented the 13 major colors of that church’s liturgical tradition. We called the circle: the liturgical circle of color.
- Dark Blue—for Advent
- White—for Christmas
- Gold—for Epiphany
- Green—for the Ordinary time after Epiphany
- Purple—for Ash Wednesday and Lent
- Red—for Palm Sunday
- White—for Maundy Thursday
- Black—for Good Friday
- Clear—for Holy Saturday
- Gold—for Easter
- White—for Eastertide
- Red—for Pentecost
- Green—for Ordinary Time
These colors appear in the paraments (the cloths hanging from the pulpit and the altar). Sometimes the pastor’s stole color also matches the color of the church season.
Each Christian tradition, however, uses a unique set of colors during the liturgical year. For example, some traditions use purple for Advent. Others use crimson for Holy Week, which is a darker red than what’s used during Pentecost. Find out which colors your tradition uses.
Liturgical traditions also use a set of scriptures each church year from the Revised Common Lectionary. The Revised Common Lectionary follows a three-year cycle of Year A, B, and C.
When we distributed the circle of color to people in church, we encouraged them to consider using it in a variety of ways:
- Keeping the circle of color in your purse or pocket to remind you of your colorful faith.
- Hanging the circle of color on your Christmas tree as an ornament.
- Using the circle of color as a bookmark in your Bible.
As the church enters the season of Advent, it’s also the season of the liturgical new year. Happy New (Liturgical) Year!