Lent is a time of solemnity and reflection in the Christian tradition. It is a time of repentance, prayer, and self-denial, leading up to the celebration of Easter. During Lent, the clergy wear different colors to symbolize the different aspects of this season.
This year, Lent begins on February 22, and will end at Easter on Easter, on April 9. Clergy will wear the appropriate vestments and apostle attires to suit the season, so let’s explore the meaning behind these colors and why they are worn during Lent.
What is Lent?
Lent is a period of 40 days that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. During this time, Christians reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and prepare for the celebration of his resurrection on Easter Sunday.
The Lenten season is marked by prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, and the clergy wear different colors to reflect the somber and reflective mood of this season.
The Colors of Lent
The color most commonly associated with Lent is purple. Purple is a symbol of penance and royalty. It is a solemn and dignified color that reflects the seriousness of the season. Purple is also the color of mourning, which is appropriate for a season of reflection and repentance.
Red is another color that is sometimes worn during Lent. It is a symbol of the blood of Christ and the sacrifice that he made for humanity. Red is also associated with the Holy Spirit and the flames of Pentecost, which is celebrated 50 days after Easter.
Most apostle attire come in red, as they also symbolize being touched by the Holy Spirit.
Why is purple the most commonly used color during Lent?
Purple is a symbol of penance and royalty, making it an appropriate color for a season of reflection and preparation. It is also the color of mourning, which is fitting for a season that focuses on repentance and sacrifice.
Violet is a lighter shade of purple also used during Lent that symbolizes humility and simplicity. It is a reminder that we should approach the Lenten season with a spirit of humility and a willingness to simplify our lives.
Other Colors for Vestments
Black is a color that is sometimes used during Lent to symbolize the darkness of sin and the sorrow of repentance. It is a color of mourning that reflects the seriousness of the season.
White is a color that is sometimes worn on certain days during Lent, such as on Easter Sunday. It is a symbol of purity and innocence, representing the hope and joy of the resurrection.
Rose is a color that is sometimes worn on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which is known as Laetare Sunday. It is a day of rejoicing and anticipation as the celebration of Easter draws near. Rose is a symbol of the joy and hope that comes with the resurrection.
Green is not traditionally associated with Lent, but it is sometimes used on the fifth Sunday of Lent, which is known as Passion Sunday. It is a day of reflection on the suffering and sacrifice of Christ, as well as a reminder of the new life that comes with the resurrection.
Lent is a Time to Reflect and Recollect
The colors of Lent are a rich and meaningful symbol of the season of reflection and preparation that precedes Easter. From purple and violet to red, black, white, rose, and even green, each color has its own significance and symbolism. These colors remind everyone of the seriousness and solemnity of Lent, as well as the hope and joy that comes with Easter.