Monday, April 18, 2011

Puzzling Holy Week Liturgical Colors

Being a liturgical nit-picker, I want my liturgical colors to be *correct*. But I find some of the color of Holy Week to be a puzzle.

Yesterday, the color of my parish for Palm Sunday was purple, which is indeed the custom in the Reformed Episcopal Church. I thought white to be more appropriate, but it is still Lent.

But it turns out red is the more common custom. Since red is the color for feasts of the passion and of martyrs, that is indeed appropriate.

Ritual Notes has it both ways. Red is the color for any blessing and procession of the palms. Purple is the color for the Eucharist itself.

That’s all very good. But then we come to Maundy Thursday, and the color is white. And there is more agreement in the church on that.

Now I would think Maundy Thursday is most definitely a feast of the passion and should therefore be red. But I was not consulted on this matter.

There is much more disagreement on the color for Good Friday. Looking around I’ve seen violet, red, and black (Black being the custom at my parish.)

This has me quite confused. I am even beginning to think the Holy Week rubrics are not infallible!

If anyone wishes to lift the confusion somewhat, feel free to comment.


Just Me said...

LOL ~ I wasn't consulted either. I am ashamed to admit that I have no idea what the colors were yesterday.

I agree that red & Maundy Thursday does seem to go hand-in-hand.

We have black for Good Friday; I can't imagine using any other color.

Randy Foster said...

Technically we use red for Good Friday, but you can hardly tell. The altar and all paraments and other colored, silken fabrics are stripped away on Thursday at the end of the Maundy Thursday service. The only red you will see on Good Friday's Mass of the Pre-Sanctified and Veneration of the Cross is the red on the clergy's stoles! (And since we have only one black stole at the parish, that isn't really an option for us!)

samfarrarwilliams said...

You can also use oxblood for Maundy Thursday if you don't wish to use the celebratory red.

PadreTampa said...

For Palm Sunday I used a celebratory red for the Blessing of Palms and Procession. At the close of the hymn [All Glory, Laud and Honor] I changed my chasuble and stole into a a claret colored stole and chasuble for the balance of the liturgy.

For Maundy Thursday I wear a off white colored chasuble and stole. While I what to celebrate the institution of the Holy Eucharist, I want to balance the joy with the fact that at the end of the Eucharist we will go to Gethsemane. [Side note: I bought crimson red and white bath towels for the Mandatum.]

On Good Friday I have used the claret colored chasuble and stole mentioned before. [I don't have any black vestments.] This year, for some reason I decided to use the red vestments I used for the Blessing of Palms. It worked too.