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Advent colours

by
18 November 2016

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Write, if you any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or to add to the answers given below.

 

Your answers

 

The traditional Advent themes are death, judgement, heaven, and hell, which is why, as I understand it, on the Third Sunday, those of us who do these things light a pink candle among the purple, and wear pink, not purple, vestments. In Common Worship, the themes are the Patriarchs, the Prophets, St John the Baptist, and the Blessed Virgin. Can one use pink on Advent 4?

 

The colour of the Advent candles does not need to follow that of the vestments, and many churches use red or green. Some do light a rose-coloured candle on the Fourth, rather than the Third, Sunday in Advent, but this seems to have begun as a mistake. “Pink for girls” is a 20th-century innovation, now getting out of hand in gender-obsessed toyshops. If a special candle is wanted to honour Mary, why not use blue, her traditional colour? As our Rector once said, when she was urged to assign the pink candle to Advent 4, “We are talking about our Lady, not Barbie.”

 

Gordon James
Wigan

 

A similar question was answered by Christopher Haffner (18 January 2013), who explained the custom: “The Roman Rite before Vatican II prescribed Philippians 4.46/7 as both introit and epistle for the Third Sunday in Advent, starting with the words Gaudete in Domino semper; hence the name Gaudete Sunday. The vestment colour was laid down as ‘pink or violet’. The 1549 Prayer Book moved Philippians 4.4 on, as the epistle for the Fourth Sunday in Advent. So the Roman and Anglican rites offered different Sundays as Gaudete Sunday.” He suggested that the Advent epistles for Years B and C both justified rose. Any other rationale for the custom would not strike us as binding. Editor

 

Your questions

 

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S. Q.

 

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