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SunJun 5

Pentecost, also known as Whitsunday, will be celebrated on June 5 this year. The word has its roots in the Greek word ‘pentecoste,’ which means ‘50th day.’ Pentecost is a major festival in the Christian church and is celebrated by believers on the Sunday that falls on the 50th day of Easter. This day is marked by Catholic priests dressing up in red robes and draping the altar of the church in red cloth. Believers would often choose to get baptized on Pentecost, and today it has become the most common day for baptism. Simply put, Pentecost marks the beginning of the Christian church’s mission to the world.

History of Pentecost

If you were to read the Old Testament, you will discover that Pentecost started off as a Jewish celebration. Only, the Jews didn’t call it Pentecost —it was known as the Feast of Harvest or the Feast of Weeks. The day celebrated the beginning of the early weeks of the wheat harvest. This meant that Pentecost was always celebrated during the middle of the month of May or occasionally in early June.

According to the Old Testament, the 50th day of Easter would be the Day of Pentecost. Since 50 days also equals seven weeks, Pentecost later came to be known as “week of weeks”. Therefore, some believers also celebrate the day as the Feast of Harvest or the Feast of Weeks.

But we no longer celebrate Pentecost the way they did before. Today, the day is commemorated as the moment in history when Christ ascended to heaven. Catholics believe that, on this day, the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles and other disciples following the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. For Catholics, it is the day when Christ burst forth and promised his followers that God will forever protect them. Pentecost is also celebrated as the day to honor devout Catholics and their faith.

Pentecost timeline

1714
The First Pentecost Hymns are Composed

Some of the first Pentecost hymns are composed by Bach in this year.

1967
Replaced by Whit Monday

Some of the first Pentecost hymns are composed by Bach in this year.

1973
Ceases to be a Public Holiday in Ireland

Up until 1973, Ireland celebrates Pentecost as a public holiday.

2008
Declared as a Public Holiday

Countries like Belgium, France, and Germany declare Pentecost as a public holiday.

Pentecost FAQs

What was Pentecost before Jesus?

“The Jewish feast of Pentecost (Shavuot) was primarily a thanksgiving for the first fruits of the wheat harvest, but it was later associated with a remembrance of the Law given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai,” according to Britannica.

Why is Pentecost so important?

Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and other disciples following the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. 

Why is Pentecost called Pentecost?

The term Pentecost comes from the Greek Πεντηκοστή (Pentēkostē) meaning “fiftieth”. It refers to the Jewish festival celebrated on the fiftieth day after First Fruits.

How to celebrate Pentecost

  1. Go to church

    Since it’s a Christian festival, visiting a church is a great way to celebrate this day. The decorations on the altar and priests in red robes make for a beautiful sight!

  2. Sing hymns together

    The hymns that are sung on Pentecost usually invoke a sense of spirit and togetherness. ‘Come down O Love Divine’ is one of the most popular Pentecost hymns.

  3. A day to get baptized

    If someone is looking to get baptized, Pentecost is the perfect day for it! Many devotees head to church for baptism on this holy day.

5 Mind-blowing Facts About Pentecost

  1. It was originally a Jewish festival

    According to the Old Testament, Pentecost started off as a Jewish festival.

  2. It also marked the season of new harvest

    Pentecost was also celebrated to mark the early weeks of the wheat harvest — wheat was harvested in the early weeks of May.

  3. Bread is offered on this day

    Fresh loaves of bread made with the newly harvested wheat are offered by the high priest on Pentecost.

  4. It used to be a holiday

    Centuries ago, Pentecost was a day of celebration and rest — schools and shops were closed.

  5. Pentecost was a pilgrim festival

    Jewish men would gather in Jerusalem in large numbers to celebrate the proceedings of the day.

Why we love Pentecost

  1. It’s a day to celebrate faith

    Pentecost celebrates the faith and love that Christians have for the church and Christ. It’s a good day to reaffirm our spiritual beliefs.

  2. It celebrates a shared past

    Pentecost is a reminder of how many religions and festivities share the same roots. It is also a day to celebrate our shared pasts and customs.

  3. The church is decked out in red

    We are used to seeing sober colors in churches but on Pentecost, the church altar is done up in red and priests can be seen donning red robes!

Pentecost dates

YearDateDay
2022June 5Sunday
2023May 28Sunday
2024May 19Sunday
2025June 8Sunday
2026May 24Sunday