Colour symbolism of liturgical colours

The liturgical colours white, green, red, purple, pink and black accompany the cycle of the church year. The changing liturgical colours help the congregation to orientate and attune themselves during the different times and festivals of the church year.

A special symbolism is inherently present in the different kinds of chromaticity which illustrate and reinforce the message of the paraments.

White: Easter and Christmas

A symbol of the absolute truth of God, of chastity, innocence and purity. White is also a royal colour and represents princely power. White clothes are a reminder of the messengers of the resurrection (angels) and of the cloud in which Christ ascended into heaven. At a church consecration festival, white symbolises the church as Christ’s flawless bride.

As a supplement to white, both yellow and gold are common; they are the colours of divine eternity and a sign of the unending light.

Green: Ordinary time

The colour green is a symbol of hope, of charity and of the resurrection. It also symbolises creation and growing life.

Red: Pentecost, saints’ feasts and Reformation Day

A symbol of God’s love for all people, of fire and of the blood which Christ and the martyrs have shed for us. Red is the colour of the Holy Spirit und is most often used for Holy Spirit feasts.

Purple: Advent and Lent

Purple is the colour of Passiontide and Advent, even though the symbolism is different for each. Purple refers to the truth of love and the love of truth. The colours blue (Christ – truth) and red (God – love) together create purple.


Pink is used as a sign of pleasant anticipation on the third Sunday during Advent (Gaudete Sunday) and the fourth Sunday during Lent (Laetare Sunday). The symbolic power of pink is created by the purple colour of Passiontide and the white colour of the forthcoming Christmas feast.


Black symbolises grieving and death (Good Friday).