Easter Sunday is one of the most important days in the Christian calendar. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion on Good Friday. This joyous occasion is marked by church services, family gatherings, feasting, and Easter egg hunts. But why do some people wear the color purple on this special Sunday?
The Significance of the Liturgical Colors
In many Christian traditions, specific liturgical colors are associated with different seasons and holidays. These colors are used for altar cloths, priestly vestments, and church decorations as visual cues to highlight the meaning of each occasion. During the Lenten season leading up to Easter, violet or purple vestments are worn to symbolize penance and sacrifice. On Easter Sunday, white and gold colors represent triumph and celebrate Christ’s resurrection. The wearing of purple by churchgoers on this day reflects the connection between Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.
Purple Represents Royalty
In ancient times, purple dye was expensive to produce and associated with nobility and royalty. As Easter celebrates Jesus Christ’s sovereignty as risen King of Kings, wearing purple is a symbolic gesture to honor Christ’s kingship. Just as subjects would dress in their finest to welcome an earthly king, wearing purple on Easter is a way for Christians to recognize the triumphant reign of the Lord. The color purple highlights the royal splendor and majesty of the resurrection victory.
Purple was a Traditional Easter Color
Historically, wearing new purple clothing on Easter Sunday was common practice for 18th and 19th-century Christians. After the solemn 40 days of austerity during Lent, Holy Week ushered in a time of joyful celebration of Christ’s resurrection. Faithful churchgoers wore their best outfits in purple hues to Easter services to demonstrate the jubilation of the Easter season. The rich vibrancy of purple dyes was a perfect match for the exultant mood. While white and pastel colors are now more prevalent for Easter attire, the custom of donning purple garments lives on for some.
Purple Represents Faithfulness
As purple dye was derived from a small mollusk, wearing the color purple on Easter symbolized the faithfulness of early Christians. They braved the challenging process of harvesting modest sea snails for dye in order to have purple clothing to honor Christ. The precious purple dye spoke of their steadfast devotion to the risen Savior. For modern Christians, putting on purple garments is a tangible reminder of their commitment to following Jesus even through difficulty and trial.
Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the promises of new life through faith in him. While current traditions often involve pastels and spring colors, wearing purple is a meaningful way to symbolize Lenten sacrifice leading to Easter joy. The rich hue represents royalty, tradition, faithfulness, and the fulfillment of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. As seasons change and customs evolve, this vivid color remains a regal and expressive way to observe the Easter holiday.