There are several colors that are traditionally associated with Christmas. This site uses red, green and gold. But why do we have them and what do the colors represent?
Most of the colors and their meanings come from the traditions and customs of the west / north of Europe, when Christmas is in the middle of winter and it is dark and cold.
Evergreen plants, such as Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe, have been used for thousands of years to decorate and illuminate buildings during the long, dark winter. They also reminded people that spring would come and that winter would not last forever!
The Romans would exchange evergreens during January as a sign of good luck. The ancient Egyptians used to carry palm branches to their homes during the mid-winter festivals.
Works of Paradise were made in many parts of Europe during the Middle Ages, often on Christmas Eve. They told Bible stories to people who could not read. The ‘Tree of Paradise’ in the Garden of Eden in the play was usually a pine with red apples attached to it.
Now the most common use of green at Christmas is Christmas trees.
As mentioned earlier, an early use of red at Christmas was the apples on the tree of paradise. They represented the fall of Adam in the works.
Red is also the color of holly berries, which is said to represent the blood of Jesus when he died on the cross.
Red is also the color of the clothes of bishops. San Nicolás would have used them and then it would also become Santa’s uniform.
Gold is the color of the sun and light, both very important in the dark winter. And both red and gold are the colors of fire you need to keep you warm.
Gold was also one of the gifts that the baby Jesus brought from one of the wise men and, traditionally, it is the color used to show the star that the wise men followed.
Silver is sometimes used instead of (or with) gold. But gold is a “warmer” color.
White is often associated with purity and peace in Western cultures. Winter snow is also very white!
White paper wafers were also sometimes used to decorate the trees of paradise. The wafers represented the bread consumed during Christian communion or mass, when Christians remember that Jesus died for them.
The white is used by most churches as the color of Christmas, when the altar is covered with a white cloth (in the Russian Orthodox Church gold is used for Christmas).
The blue color is often associated with Mary, the mother of Jesus. In medieval times, blue dye and paint were more expensive than gold. So it would only be used by real families and very rich people. Mary often painted blue to show that it was very important.
Blue can also represent the color of the sky and the sky.
During Advent, purple and sometimes blue is used in most churches for the color of the altar cloth (in the Russian Orthodox Church, red is used for the advent).