Here's the meaning of the colors and the spiritual truths they symbolize.
Throughout the Church’s liturgical year, priests wear several different color vestments. The colors are not arbitrary, but reflect a deeper meaning that is meant to point us to a specific spiritual theme.
Since ancient times, whenever a priest celebrated the sacrifice of the Mass he would put on a large poncho-like garment called a casula (chasuble) that covered his ordinary clothing. This vestment developed from the ordinary Roman attire of a farmer, who wore the large poncho to protect him from the elements. By the 8th century the chasuble was reserved for clergy members and a few centuries later specific colors were in use.
The colors were developed to highlight different spiritual truths according to the day in the Church’s calendar. That way, when someone attended Mass they could immediately recognize the color and associate it with the season or day that was being celebrated. It led the people into a deeper understanding of the faith and reinforced whatever spiritual lesson that needed to be taught.
Below is a visual guide to the colors of the liturgical year, with the symbolism of each color.
Click “Launch the Slideshow” in the image below:
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?