Altar Colors – Meanings
The colors are those for the vestments and furnishings for the Altar and Chancel. Their meaning is as follows:
White: The color of the Holy Trinity, or our Lord and of purity and joy. It is used during Christmastide, Feast of the Epiphany, Eastertide, Ascension-tide, the Transfiguration, All Saints Day and its Octave, and on Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day, and the feasts of saints who were not martyrs. It is also used on great festival occasions and for weddings. It may be used for consecration of a Bishop, ordination of a Priest or Deacon and Confirmation, the alternative being red.
Red: The symbolism is the Holy Spirit represented by the tongues of fire at Pentecost and also the symbolism of the blood of the martyrs. It is also used on Pentecost (Whitsunday) and until Trinity Sunday, on the feasts of saints who were martyrs and on certain other occasions which stress the shedding of blood. It is properly used for the consecration of a Bishop, the ordination of a Priest or Deacon, and confirmation, although white is a permissible alternative.
Violet: The Symbolism is a penitence and preparation. It is used during Advent, pre-Lent and Lent and also on the Ember Days (except in Whitsuntide and Rogation Days. Violet is also the color of the Sacraments of Unction and Penance, as well as of blessing of Holy Objects.
Green: This is the color of nature and of growth. It is used on all occasions when another color is not prescribed.
Black: This is the color of death and of mourning. It is used on Good Friday, All Souls Day, and at funerals and requiems.