Celebration altar frontal from Chudleigh
Have you, when attending a church service, or just visiting, wondered about the change of colours on the altar table? For twenty-eight weeks of the year it is green and suddenly changes to white/gold for All Saints Day, and has a number of changes from then on. These colours are not official, and never have been, although used from the Middle Ages as a visual aid or reminder of the changing season of the Church. Apart from the altar frontal, you will see the same colour on the pulpit desk and in clergy vestments. We follow tradition according to what we have: ie gold/white; green; red; purple.
Gold usually for Christmas Day, Easter Day, and other occasions for rejoicing and celebration;
White symbolising joy, celebration, light, purity, used for the Sundays after Christmas, after Epiphany and after Easter;
Green symbolising the colour of grass, foliage, fruit, a time of growth. Used for the 28 weeks of Sundays after Trinity and for Sundays between Epiphany and Lent;
Red symbolising fire and blood. Used at Pentecost (reminding us of the tongues of fire descending on the apostles), Palm Sunday (Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem), and the first 3 days of Holy Week, and between All Saints and the Feast of Christ the King. On Good Friday, the altar is normally stripped.
Purple Used in Lent and Advent seasons, to symbolise penitence and self-discipline.
[From an article by Margaret Stack in Whats On in Trusham