About Pentecost Sunday
When is Pentecost Sunday?
Pentecost, also known as Whit Sunday or Whitsunday, is observed on the seventh Sunday after Easter and 10 days after Ascension. The name comes from the Greek word "pentekoste" which means fiftieth as Pentecost Sunday takes place on the 50th day of Easter.
As the date is based on Easter, this day is a moveable feast. The earliest day that Pentecost Sunday can fall is May 10th (as in 1818) and the latest possible date is June 13th (next in 2038).
It marks the end of the Easter cycle, which began 90 days ago with Ash Wednesday at the start of Lent.
Why is it called Pentecost Sunday?
This Christian holy day commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit in the form of flames to the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ, as recorded in the New Testament in Acts 2:1–31, the fifth book of the New Testament of the Bible.
The Holy Spirit allowed the apostles to speak in other languages, and they started preaching the word of Jesus to the Jews who were in Jerusalem for the feast of Shavuot (also known as the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost - in this case, meaning seven weeks since Passover).
Many Christians recognise the Descent of the Holy Spirit as the birth of the Church.
In the United Kingdom, Pentecost is known as Whitsunday. The name "Whitsunday" is generally attributed to the white garments formerly worn by the candidates for baptism on this feast.
In Germany, Pentecost is called "Pfingsten" and often coincides with the beginning of many outdoor and springtime activities.
Did you know?
In 1662, Isaac Newton compiled a list of 48 sins he had committed before Whitsunday that included ‘eating an apple at Thy house’, ‘making pies on Sunday night‘, and ‘denying a crossbow to my mother and grandmother though I knew of it’.
Orthodox Pentecost Sunday
As the date of Orthodox Easter is usually different to the date in the Western Church, so to the date of Orthodox Pentecost Sunday, also known as Holy Spirit Sunday, will differ.