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Whit Sunday. Why is Pentecost called Whitsunday?

So like Easter, there are several feast days to mark Whit Sunday or the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the holy apostles. Also, it is a feast to which many customs and traditions are linked, as well as superstitions, such as those related to the appearance of fairies, the evil fairies.

Whit Sunday, or the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, is one of the oldest Christian feasts, along with Easter. It has been celebrated since the time of the holy apostles. Pentecost is the feast that recalls that the Holy Spirit came into the world and descended upon the Holy Apostles, and the Church of Christ was founded in Jerusalem.

The Feast of Pentecost, which takes place 50 days after Christ’s Resurrection and ten days after His Ascension into heaven, was foretold in the Old Testament by the Messianic prophets and is also called the “end of the feasts,” the event which brings to an end the history of salvation accomplished by Christ. This feast is known among the people as Great Whit Sunda,y which marks the end of the Easter cycle: the Resurrection, the Ascension, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

What is meant by Whitsunday?

Pentecost Sunday or the Whit Sunday of the Laying on of the Holy Spirit, also called Great Sunday, is the annual celebration of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Holy Apostles, an event which they tell us about (II, 1-4) and which concludes the revelation of the Trinitarian God to the world and creation. It always falls ten days after the Ascension or 50 days after Easter, when the celebrated event took place and when the Jews also celebrated their feast.

When we refer to Whitsunday, it relates to the Sunday on which the Holy Spirit descended in tongues of fire upon the earth. Just as Jesus promised them it would be. There is no doubt that Pentecost is the oldest Christian feast, along with Easter, and has been celebrated since the time of the Holy Apostles as a continuation of the corresponding Jewish feast.

It is also the feast of the founding of the Christian Church because on that day, following the inspired word of the Apostle Peter, about 3,000 souls were converted to Christianity, which formed the first Christian community in Jerusalem (Acts II, 41), the nucleus of the later Church.

Read also: Feast of the Transfiguration. What Was the Transfiguration of Jesus?

What happened at the Pentecost?

Whit Sunday is nothing more than a remembrance, a celebration of the birth of Christianity, of the Christian Church. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit brought the sanctifying work into the world and significantly changed the mentality and dynamics of mankind. Christians must preserve the dignity of Christianity and the joy of being born a Christian; they must maintain the beauty of Christianity because the presence of the Savior Jesus Christ in the world was nothing but to break the history of mankind in two. Because historians also relate events before Christ and after Christ.

According to historical accounts, at the Pentecost, The Holy Spirit descended upon the Holy Apostles on Whit Sunday morning, the day of Pentecost, in the form of tongues of fire, not in the form of a dove as at the Baptism of the Lord.

The coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, who were in the tabernacle of the Last Supper on Mount Zion, is described as follows: “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. And also there came a sound from heaven, like a rushing wind. It filled the whole house where they were sitting. And indeed, there appeared to them tongues like fire, and they sat on each of them. They were also filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (…) And they were all amazed and could not understand, saying one to another, What shall this be?” (Acts 2:1-13).

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Is Whitsunday the same as Pentecost?

Ten days after Christ’s Ascension, 50 days after His Resurrection, we celebrate Pentecost – the Laying on of the Holy Spirit, also known as Pentecost. This year we celebrate the Laying of the Holy Spirit on 20 June. Pentecost dates back to the Apostolic Age. Pentecost was a double feast in the early Christian centuries: the Laying on of the Holy Spirit and the Ascension of Christ. Around the year 400, the two feasts were separated from each other.

Biblical scholars have made it clear that Whitsunday is the same as Pentecost. From Acts, we learn that all those filled with the Holy Spirit “began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:6). There have been those who have claimed that the Apostles spoke in one language. Still, the Holy Spirit translated to the hearers what the Apostles said.

If through the work of the Holy Spirit, God the Son descended from heaven and became incarnate, it is also through the Holy Spirit that the divine and human life of Christ is imparted to us. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is the act of the passage of Christ’s saving work from His humanity into humanity.

Read also: Epiphany (holiday). Synaxis of St. John the Baptist

Key Verse related to Whitsunday

 “So when the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Also, a sound like the blowing of a violent wind suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven. But filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated. And came to rest on each of them. So all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. And also began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

Acts 2:1-4 (NIV)

Whit Sunday

What are the beliefs of Pentecost?

The presence of the Spirit in the form of tongues, like a fire, made it possible for the Apostles to know God’s will and to share it with those present in their language so that the preaching would not remain idle.

The beliefs and Pentecost dogma believe that at the moment of the impartation of the Holy Spirit, the disciples began to speak in languages unknown to them before because God descended upon them. Enlightened by the Holy Spirit, they made themselves understood by all the Jews who had come from different places to Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost – the day Moses received the Law on Mount Sinai.

Fire-like languages are still present in the Church today. So the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of the Lord through the work of the Holy Spirit. Every ordination as a deacon, priest, or archpriest is evidence of the presence of the Spirit.

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How many days after Jesus’ ascension did the Holy Spirit come?

Also, the uncreated divine light does not undergo changes and alterations, like fire. And indeed, if the light of the fire is sometimes less intense. Sometimes intense, depending on the fire. The divine light being uncreated did not enlighten the Apostles progressively.

Ten days after the Ascension of the Saviour, the Holy Spirit descends from heaven like a great rush of wind. The disciples gathered in the upper room in the form of tongues as of fire. The fire in the condition of which the Holy Spirit appeared was not natural, and for this reason, Scripture speaks of tongues of fire. And not tongues of fire. This is important because there is a significant difference between the light of God and the light of the fire.

So the feast of Pentecost belongs to many folk customs, beliefs, and religious rites. It is related to the general remembrance of the dead from the previous Saturday (Saturday of the Dead or Summer Easter).

3 Pentecost Customs

  1. On the feast of Pentecost, Christians go to church and attend the Holy Mass, and then take walnut leaves consecrated by the priest and place them at home with the icons.
  2. On Pentecost, going to the fields is not good because the Isle can catch and punish you.
  3. Also, on Whitsunday, you should not go into the vineyard or to deserted places, forests, or wells because you can meet evil spirits.

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What happened after the Holy Spirit was poured out?

When fifty days had passed since the Ascension, a thunderclap was heard that pierced the crowds gathered in Jerusalem from all over the world. The Holy Spirit was seen in the form of tongues of fire, descending not only on the twelve apostles but also on the seventy disciples.

After the descent of the Holy Spirit, St Peter the Apostle spoke to the crowd, and 3,000 people were converted to Christianity. Pentecost is thus believed to be the feast of the founding of the Christian Church because the 3,000 people formed the first Christian community in Jerusalem, the nucleus of the later Church.

The feast of the descent of the Holy Spirit is also known as Pentecost, from the Roman rose festival, dedicated to the cult of the dead. Christians took over the Roman custom, making the Saturday before Pentecost one of the days of remembrance of the deceased.

Why is Pentecost called Whit Sunday?

Jesus himself announced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the Last Supper. “So I tell you the truth. For if I do not go, the Comforter will not come to you, and if I go, I will send him to you.”

According to biblical accounts, Pentecost is called Whit Sunday because of the white robes of the 3000 people who were baptized and had their souls cleansed upon hearing Peter’s sermon. The Apostle Peter preached a sermon that baptized 3,000 souls. This formed the nucleus of the first Christian community.

In the past, catechumens were baptized around this feast. Fasting and kneeling were also forbidden then. So in the time of the Byzantine emperors, performances in circuses and theatres or any other unbecoming event were banned, as they would have marred the beauty of the feast.

Read also: What Is Palm Sunday and Why Do Christians Celebrate It?

What is Pentecost known for?

It is said that on the eighth Sunday after Easter. At the same time, the Apostles and other disciples of Jesus Christ were praying together. So the Holy Spirit descended upon them as “cloven tongues of fire.” The Apostles began to speak in the languages of all nations, and the pilgrims who came to Jerusalem were astonished to hear these uneducated fishermen uttering prayers to the Lord in the languages of their distant lands.

Pentecost is known for being the spirit of the daughters of the Muslim king. It is also said that one day they found a spring in which all earthly things were mirrored. They also took water from a well and gave it to the king’s horse. The horse grew wings, and so the legend of the winged, mischievous horse was born. The girls then drank from the water and gained magical powers.

So the Whit Sunday of the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit, or Pentecost, is considered the birthday of the Christian Church. Indeed the story goes that the Pentecosts are fantastic beings who walk through the sky and punish those who do not observe their feast. Also, believers bring green branches of walnut or lime trees to church; plants believed to ward off evil spirits. Kept over the summer, the twigs protect the field and the household from storms and hail.

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Primary Takeaways

  • The most popular name of the holiday, however, is Pentecost, a name that reminds us of a Roman holiday – “Rosalia,” a flower festival in May, in which they paid homage to the goddess Flora, a holiday that the Church replaced, giving it a Christian meaning.
  • By pouring out the Holy Spirit, we understand the coming from the Father of the third Person of the Holy Trinity, in the form of tongues of fire, upon the Apostles and Disciples of the Saviour. They were then, together with the Mother of God, in the tabernacle of Jerusalem.
  • The syntax thus insists that the Holy Spirit, at Pentecost, did not only descend upon the twelve Apostles but also upon the other Disciples present at the time in the tabernacle in Jerusalem with the Apostles.


Pentecost is the last of the feasts linked to Easter, ontologically and liturgically closing the Easter cycle, thus inaugurating the ecclesial economy. Through the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the disciples, the Church is constituted, and we are introduced into the dimension of the age to come through the inauguration of a new size of existence – life in grace.

Before His Ascension into heaven, Christ promised His disciples that He would send them the Holy Spirit, who would teach them, comfort them, and lead them into all truth.
This promise was fulfilled on the tenth day after Christ’s ascension into heaven or the fiftieth day after His resurrection from the dead. In remembrance of this event, the Church celebrates the Feast of Pentecost (Penthkosth here ) because it is the fiftieth day after Easter.

I appreciate your kindness in reading our article with love! I wish you pleasant relaxation today and respectfully request that you visit the following Whit Sunday quiz. All the best!

Quizlet about Whit Sunday

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Read also: What is the meaning of Lent Fasting?


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  • Authority, G. B. R. M. P. (2017). Whitsundays Plan of management 1998: includes the 2017 amendment as in force 2 August 2017 (SUPERSEDED). Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
  • Authority, G. B. R. M. P. (2021). Visiting the Whit Sunday in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area: A guide for recreational visitors.
  • Coghlan, A., & Prideaux, B. (2012). Patterns of reef tourism on the GBR, Tropical North Queensland, and the Whitsundays.
  • Hanna, J. N., Symons, D. J., & Lyon, M. J. (2002). A measles outbreak in the Whitsundays, Queensland: the shape of things to come? Communicable Diseases Intelligence Quarterly Report26(4).