Liturgical Colors

The Catholic Church has four main liturgical colors, used at specific times and events throughout the year.

The four main colors are:

White – used during the Easter and Christmas seasons, for solemnities, on celebrations of the Lord other than of His passion, celebrations of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and some major saint feast days.

Red – used on Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Pentecost Sunday, “birthday” feast days of Apostles and Evangelists, and celebrations of martyrs.

Green – used for Ordinary Time.

Violet (purple) – used for Advent and Lent. It may also be used for Masses for the dead.


These are the four main liturgical colors. Another three include:

Rose (pink) – sometimes used for Gaudete Sunday (Third Sunday of Advent) and Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent)

Black – sometimes used for funerals and other Masses for the dead

Gold/Silver – sometimes used on solemn occasions or solemnities.


The use of these specific colors is another way the Catholic Church expresses worldwide unity and consistency. Although there are certain variations that may be up to the discretion of the celebrant (for example, rose is traditional but not mandatory for Gaudete or Laetare Sunday), general adherence to these colors ensures Catholic unity in worship. The color for any given day is typically listed in liturgical calendars or Ordos for the particular region.



By Elizabeth Craig

Updated 06-05-2023