The church calendar organizes the year into six seasons, each serving to remind us of events in the life of Christ and the saints.  Seasonal changes of color and themes of worship set a familiar pattern throughout the year.


Advent, the first season of the liturgical year, begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve.  The color of the season is purple (due to the theme of solemn preparation) or blue (used in honor of the Virgin Mary and her obedience to God's calling.).


The Christmas season begins on Christmas Eve, and "the twelve days of Christmas" extends to January 5. It is, of course, the celebration of the nativity of Jesus and incarnation of God. The colors of the season are white and gold, symbolizing purity and holiness.   


Epiphany is between Christmas and Lent.  It begins on the Day of Epiphany on January 6, and ends four to nine weeks later on Shrove Tuesday (also known as "Fat Tuesday" or "Mardi Gras."  Epiphany commemorates Christ's manifestation to the Gentiles as the promised Messiah, symbolized by the visit of the three Wise Men.  Epiphany celebrates Christ revealed for all people. The color for the Day of Epiphany is white, symbolizing purity and holiness, and the color for the season is green, for growth.


Lent is a 40-day period (excluding Sundays)  from Ash Wednesday to the day before Easter Sunday.  It is a season of preparation for Easter, marked by prayer, penitence, and personal reflection.  The 40 days recalls Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness.  The last week of Lent is Holy Week, or Passiontide, commemorating the events and circumstances of Jesus' last earthly days.  The color of Lent is Purple, symbolizing royalty, sorrow, and penitence.  


Easter begins at sunset the day before Easter Sunday and concludes on Pentecost Sunday, 50 days later.  Easter commemorates Jesus' resurrection, the central event of Christianity and foundation of the faith.  The color of the season is white.

The Season after Pentecost, or Ordinary Time

Pentecost, commemorating the gift of the Holy Spirit, is the birthday of the church.  The color for Pentecost is red, and the color for the season is green.