Violet and Rose: The Colors of Advent

By Monique Sammut | December 15, 2017
Four Sundays – Two Colors

Advent is a time of preparation leading up to Christmas.  Every liturgical season has its own color and Advent is no exception.  There are two main colors of Advent – violet and rose.  Each of the four weeks of Advent, beginning with the Sunday, has a corresponding color.  The first two Sundays are violet, the third one is rose, and the final one is once again violet.

These colors are used to decorate homes and churches and are also the colors of the candles used on Advent Wreaths.

Violet – A Penitential Color

Violet represents prayer, penance, sorrow, and sacrifice which are central themes in the season of Advent although the approach is gentler than during Lent.  Advent is a time of hope and expectation but we must still prepare for the holy feast of Christmas.  We must be sorry for our sins, repent, and sacrifice, in order to prepare a fitting home for Christ.  It is similar to housecleaning – spiritual housecleaning.

The first two Sundays and weeks of Advent are violet, reminding us of the penitential aspect of the season.  Then, after a week of joy, the final week of Advent is also violet, bringing us to a final week of preparation before the coming of the Lord at Christmas.

Rose – Joyful Expectation

Rose is the liturgical color of joy.  It reminds us that on the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, our waiting is almost over.  It is a time to rejoice in what we have been given and in what is yet to come.  This Sunday is the midpoint in Advent.  Two weeks have passed and roughly two are yet to come before Christmas.  It is a break from the solemnity of the season to rejoice in the hope that Christmas is almost here!

A Colorful Reminder

The colors of Advent should serve to bring us closer to the true meaning of this holy season.  Through prayer, penance, and sacrifice we can achieve the joy of Christmas.  Advent is not meant to be a melancholy time but a time of joyful expectation and preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas.

Let us prepare a place for Christ in our hearts so that he may have a warm, welcoming place to lay His head.

“A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord.  Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!”  Isaiah 40:3