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Purple clothes on crosses in front of churches?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Can someone explain the meaning behind the different color cloths draped on crosses? Thank you.
post #2 of 16
They are liturgical colors. Since it's currently Lent the color is violet which signifies this as a penitential season. Violet is also used during Advent.

Which colors and which seasons would vary by Church.
post #3 of 16
It has to do with the liturgical year (church year).

Purple is lent and advent, I think.

Umm... hold on... let me check....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liturgical_colours
post #4 of 16
Yes, it's for Lent. Traditionally, crosses are covered with cloth for the season, up until Holy Week. Purple is the colour for Lent.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your replies. Do some churches keep the crosses draped with fabric all year round? Where we live, it's just in the spring - first purple, then black and then white. The rest of the year there is nothing on the crosses (and some churches take the crosses down).
post #6 of 16
in protestant churches they will. often put a purple cloth on to signify the royalty of Christ, black on good friday because of his death and white on Easter morning. This is from the liturgical calander but they give it their own little twist since they do not necessarily acknowledge liturgical seasons.
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by emelsea View Post
Thanks for your replies. Do some churches keep the crosses draped with fabric all year round? Where we live, it's just in the spring - first purple, then black and then white. The rest of the year there is nothing on the crosses (and some churches take the crosses down).
Not that I have ever seen. Anglicans, and I believe Catholics, don't just drape the cross with purple fabric, they cover it completely so you can't see it.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
Not that I have ever seen. Anglicans, and I believe Catholics, don't just drape the cross with purple fabric, they cover it completely so you can't see it.
Why do they cover it completely?
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by emelsea View Post
Why do they cover it completely?
Well, the origins of this custom are far back, so to some extent it is a guess I think.

But I have heard two explanations. One is that it relates to Christ's mission being obscured during his life.

The other is that it is to help us concentrate on the purpose of Lent.

These are I think similar ideas. During Lent we are meant to understand and feel keenly our separation from God. We know of course about Easter, but we don't want to look too far ahead during the Lenten season. If we do not really understand what it means to experience separation from God, we do not really understand the joy and wonder of Easter and the Resurrection, the news that God has brought us back to him.

So by veiling crosses (and also statues and pictures) we cover up the symbols of the Resurrection, which is really what even a crucifix is.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
Not that I have ever seen. Anglicans, and I believe Catholics, don't just drape the cross with purple fabric, they cover it completely so you can't see it.
This may vary between churches. I have been Catholic since birth and none of our Churches ever completely cover a cross or statue. I haven't seen statues covered. Usually, they just drape the cloth over the cross. Some parishes have flags they fly in the parking lot. Other erect crosses ouside just for the season of Lent.
post #11 of 16
I thought, while I was young, they changed the color for Advent from purple to blue. The idea was that the purple during Lent was more mourning, while the blue was a happier preparation / waiting.

The Catholic churches I went to did not cover the crosses, just draped the fabric around it.
post #12 of 16
Our parish (RCC) covers all the statues and crucifixes with purple drapes during the last two weeks of Lent and then removes them after Good Friday services. It's to help remind us to focus on our Lord's passion.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsMike View Post
This may vary between churches. I have been Catholic since birth and none of our Churches ever completely cover a cross or statue. I haven't seen statues covered. Usually, they just drape the cloth over the cross. Some parishes have flags they fly in the parking lot. Other erect crosses ouside just for the season of Lent.

They're *supposed* to cover them and much of the imagery inside as well. Particularly, by Holy Week it is really really improper not to completely cover every single Crucifix. Sadly, this is not done in many churches anymore. The more liberal, the less likely you are to see it.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by xekomaya View Post
They're *supposed* to cover them and much of the imagery inside as well. Particularly, by Holy Week it is really really improper not to completely cover every single Crucifix. Sadly, this is not done in many churches anymore. The more liberal, the less likely you are to see it.
that is odd... i have never seen it done and i have been to many, many catholic churches... hmmm i makes me think.
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovebug View Post
that is odd... i have never seen it done and i have been to many, many catholic churches... hmmm i makes me think.
In a lot of places, the full veiling (inside) isn't done until Holy Week after Palm Sunday, so if you don't attend during the week and just go Sunday to Sunday, you may not see it. That is another possibility
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by xekomaya View Post
In a lot of places, the full veiling (inside) isn't done until Holy Week after Palm Sunday, so if you don't attend during the week and just go Sunday to Sunday, you may not see it. That is another possibility
i do go on wed many weeks... so maybe i just need to pay more attn... that could be too
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