ecclesiastical fashion

OK. So I suppose I really shouldn’t have raised the topic…especially not DURING Mass.

However, today is the first Sunday in advent and for those who follow such things, priestly garments change their colour with the season and the type of occasion being celebrated.

This month, priests will be mostly wearing purple.

As was our priest. Except it’s a very blueish form of purple and – it struck me – does clash with the purple (a much pinkier hue) on the rest of the altar.

So I just happened to wonder aloud, as one does, about whether priests got to pick the colour of their vestments, within prescribed limits – and whether anyone else thought the two colours clashed. A short but decidedly irreligious conversation followed.

Which is why I had my wrist slapped…in a mostly friendly fashion…by another attendee at the mass.

“What are you like?” Or words to that effect. I am ever-so slightly chastened – but not altogether diverted from future speculation about priestly fashion.



3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Demelza said,

    It’s covered in paragraphs 343-345 – sounds as if “fitting for the occasion” is more important than a specific Pantone reference.

    When I was at school they had some lovely (and presumably valuable) historic vestments which got trotted out on high days and holy days. Today, alas, ease of laundering seems to be the prime consideration rather than the aesthetics.

  2. 2

    Wonderer said,

    Yes, purple is approopriate and traditgional for Advent, for us in the C of E as much as for you in the RCC. Apart from one Sunday when for some reason they have “rose” (read pink!). In the C of E, generally the vestments (long with matching altar hangings etc) are owned by the church, not the priest, so he (or – in our case – she) doesn’t have much choice.

    If you like liturgical fashion, the Ship of Fools website sometimes has quite esoteric has discussions on it. And you might like this caption competition: .


    • 3

      janefae said,

      its about symbolism. Apparently the pink candle suggests joy (no scope whatsoever for smutty bad humour there!) whereas each of the other candles signifies other things.

      Still can’t work out why joy is pink and peace, f’rinstance, is purple.

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