Whit Monday is celebrated a day after Pentecost Sunday, on May 20 this year. Thus, Pentecost is also known as Whit Sunday or Whitsunday. It is a public holiday in countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada. Devotees celebrate the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples of Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament.
History of Whit Monday
Pentecost commemorates the day when the Holy Spirit visited the apostles and blessed them with the ‘gift of tongues.’ If Pentecost is celebrated on the 50th day after Easter, we can deduce that Whit Monday is marked on the 51st day. The day also commemorates the birth of the Christian Church and some believe that the first Whit Monday was celebrated as early as the first century. The dates for Pentecost and Whit Monday also depend on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox.
Whit Monday was also one of the first major annual holidays in the United States of America. In 1835 and just after the Civil War, Whit Monday also came to be known as the ‘Dutch Fourth of July.’ People would celebrate by gathering to eat, drink, and entertain themselves with dancing and music. Until 1967, Ireland and the United Kingdom observed Whit Monday as a public holiday and bank holiday, respectively.
Some Orthodox churches still observe Whit Monday in accordance with the Julian calendar. The Julian calendar precedes the Gregorian calendar and has been adopted by many Western Churches. Devout Catholics also refer to the Julian calendar when it comes to celebrating Pentecost and Whit Monday.
Whit Monday timeline
Until 1967, Whit Monday is celebrated as a bank holiday in the United Kingdom but after this, it becomes a normal working day.
Until 1973, Whit Monday is celebrated as a public holiday in Ireland but after this, it is stopped.
Sweden starts celebrating Whit Monday as National Sweden Day.
The Pope decides that Whit Monday will be a fixed celebration of the new feast.
Whit Monday FAQs
Is Whit Monday a bank holiday?
Yes, it is also known as the Late May Bank Holiday.
What is the meaning of Whit Monday?
Whit Monday is a Christian holiday celebrated the day after Pentecost Sunday.
Is Whitsun a religious holiday?
Yes, it is a religious holiday in countries like the U.S., U.K., and Canada.
How to Observe Whit Monday
Go to church
All Catholic churches celebrate Whit Monday. Take part in the celebrations at your local church to fully immerse yourself in the festivities of the day.
Join a prayer rally
Prayer rallies and street marches are a part of Whit Monday celebrations. These are fun ways to celebrate, especially if you plan to participate with children.
Dress up in white
White is the color of Whit Monday. Dress up in the day’s colors to celebrate with your loved ones.
5 Facts About Whit Monday That Will Blow Your Mind
It dates back to the first century
Whit Monday celebrations are believed to date back to the first century — the day celebrated the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles.
It is also known as the Monday of the Holy Spirit
The Eastern Orthodox church celebrates Whit Monday as the Monday of the Holy Spirit.
The symbol of the day is white
On Whit Sunday, the church dons the color white — flames, wind, the breath of God, and doves are the symbols associated with Whit Monday.
It is a public holiday
Whit Monday is a public holiday in several countries like the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Norway, among others.
The French celebrate it, too
Whit Sunday is celebrated in France, too, albeit by a different name - Day of Solidarity.
Why Whit Monday is Important
It celebrates the beginning of the church
The church is an important part of people’s lives. It’s a place that comforts them and brings the community together. Whit Monday is a great day to celebrate this.
The hymns that are sung on Whit Monday are the same as those sung on Pentecost. Joyful and invoking the Holy Spirit, the hymns are everyone’s favorite.
It’s an ancient tradition
Celebrating a festival that is almost 2,000 years old is symbolic of humanity’s faith in God. The day reaffirms faith and Christ’s infinite kindness.
Whit Monday dates