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What color is worn on Good Friday?

Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday and commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. While there are no universal rules about what color to wear on Good Friday, there are some common traditions and guidelines.


Black is the most common and traditional color worn on Good Friday in many Christian denominations, including Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches. Black symbolizes mourning and penitence as Good Friday marks the day Jesus died on the cross.

Wearing black clothing demonstrates solemnity and reflection on this holy day. This includes black dresses, suits, shirts, pants, and shawls. Some churches encourage their clergy to wear black vestments during Good Friday services.


Red is another color commonly associated with Good Friday, representing the blood Jesus shed on the cross. Some churches use red paraments and altar cloth coverings on this day.

Individuals may also choose to wear a touch of red, like a red sweater or scarf, to symbolize the crucifixion. This is especially common in Catholic churches where red also represents the Passion of Christ.


Purple is the liturgical color for the Lenten season in Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian denominations. As Good Friday falls within Lent, purple is an appropriate color for this occasion.

Purple symbolizes penance and preparation. As a somber hue, it also denotes solemnity as we remember Christ’s sacrifice. Some churches drape sanctuaries in purple banners or paraments on Good Friday.


In some denominations, white is used on Good Friday to symbolize innocence. White represents Jesus’ sinless nature and purity as the Lamb of God.

However, white is a less common color for Good Friday and seen more often on Easter Sunday to denote resurrection and new life.

No Requirement

It’s important to note there are no universal rules requiring a specific color on Good Friday. Some churches and individuals choose not to associate special colors with this event.

Wearing customary mourning colors like black, red, or purple is traditional. But individuals are free to wear any modest, respectful clothing they desire to services.

Regional Differences

Colors worn on Good Friday can vary by region, culture, and denomination. Here are some examples:

  • In Australia and New Zealand, purple or red are common Good Friday colors.
  • British monarch Queen Elizabeth II often wears black to commemorate Good Friday.
  • Some Filipino Catholics practice the tradition of dressing statues of Jesus and Mary in black on Good Friday.
  • In Greece and Cyprus, dark red vestments and altar coverings are used in Orthodox churches.
  • In India, brown is a traditional color as it represents the earth Christ walked on.

So while black, red, and purple are most customary, local traditions may utilize different liturgical colors.


In summary, while there are no strict rules, black, red, and purple are considered the traditional colors for Good Friday in most Western church denominations. These colors symbolize mourning, solemnity, penance, and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

But individuals can choose to wear whatever they wish in respectful remembrance of this holy occasion. And some regions associate other colors like white or brown with Good Friday based on local customs.

Ultimately, as Christians observe a somber day of fasting and repentance, the reflective color one wears can represent grief over Christ’s suffering while also anticipating the joyous celebration of his resurrection on Easter Sunday.