Church Seasonal Decorations

Written by ryn gargulinski
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Church Seasonal Decorations
(Photo by Ryn Gargulinski)

You don't need to go to the library to find out what holy season you're in --- you can simply walk into a church. Churches will add flowers, bows, ribbons, altar cloths and even outfit their people in vestments that will tell folks at a glance what holiday or season is at hand. Dozens of holy observances and symbolic decorations can grace the church at various times of the year. Some of the most common or striking include Easter, Holy Week, Epiphany and all types of Christmas decorations.

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Easter

Easter blooms into most every church with bright, springtime colours and lots of flowers. Decorations for this holiday, which marks the resurrection of Christ from the dead, will often include a cross propped near stones to mark the cave from which his body was risen. Easter lilies are symbolic of eternal life and thus are popular flowers to use. They can be placed in pots around the altar, in small arrangements attached to the ends of the pews or anywhere else there is space. Easter colours include lots of white, pink, lavender, gold and brilliant yellows. Angels, sheep and a large Easter candle also often grace the altar.

Holy Week

Holy Week is the week leading up to Easter, a time to acknowledge and recreate Jesus' final journey from life into death, which ends with him nailed to the cross. The church will often be awash in red, the colour of blood and martyrdom. This particular time is not one to feature festooned ribbons or flowers, but rather a solemn, simple theme that may simply feature a red cloth on or around the altar or other dashes of the colour throughout the church.

Christmas

Poinsettias, holly, evergreen boughs and even a live or artificial tree are the staple at many churches for Christmas. This holiday marks the birth of Christ and is easily the most well-attended mass of any congregation. Red, green, gold, white and silver are common colours, with bows often placed on the ends of the pews or festooned around the altar. Angels are also regularly seen in churches around Christmas.

Nativity

One of the largest and most elaborate decorations that often grace churches during Christmas is a nativity scene. Some churches will erect this depiction of Jesus's birth out in the yard, while others will place it in the back of the church or even near the altar. The figures can be of any size and material, from minuscule hand-carved wood to larger-than-life light-up plastic, and will include the baby Jesus in a manger, Mary, Joseph, the three wise men and often an angel and various livestock such as sheep or donkeys.

Epiphany

This church holiday, which marks the season during which Jesus manifested Himself as God, is usually filled with green. Green symbolises life and growth, which is what Jesus was going through during this January and February stretch. Since the season is also known as the time Jesus was baptised, a large baptismal font may be front and centre, festooned with greenery and live flowers. Epiphany is seen by some churches as the time the wise men arrived, following the star that guided them to Jesus's manger. So large stars, or a single, bright, beckoning star can be used to mark this season in church decor

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