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Whit Sunday. Why is Pentecost called Whitsunday?

So like Easter, there are several feast days to mark Pentecost 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 10 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 also known among the people as Great Whit Sundaywhich 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 10 days after the Ascension or 50 days after Easter, when the celebrated event took place and when the Jews also celebrated their feast.

When reference is made to Whitsunday, it refers to the Sunday on which the Holy Spirit descended in tongues of fire upon the earth. Just how Jesus promised them it would be. There is no doubt that Pentecost is the oldest Christian feast along with Easter, 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 greatly changed the mentality and dynamics of mankind. Christians must preserve the dignity of Christianity, the joy of being born a Christian, they must preserve 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, as of a rushing wind. It filled the whole house where they were sitting. And indeed there appeared to them tongues as of fire, and they sat on each of them. They were also all 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).

Read also: All Saints’ Day. What Is The History And Meaning Of This Feast?

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. In the early Christian centuries, the feast of Pentecost was a double feast: 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, but the Holy Spirit translated to the hearers what the Apostles spoke.

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 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 the will of God 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.

Read also: When Is Three Kings’ Day and How Is It Celebrated?

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

Also, the divine light being uncreated does not undergo changes and alterations, like that of 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. In the form of tongues as of fire, upon the disciples gathered in the upper room. The fire in the form 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 major difference between the light of God and the light of the fire.

So the feast of Pentecost belongs to a lot of folk customs, beliefs, and religious rites. 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 it’s not good to go to the fields, because the Isle can catch you and punish you.
  3. Also on Whitsun you should not go into the vineyard, or to deserted places, forests or wells, because you can meet evil spirits.

Read also: What Does Maundy Thursday Mean and Why Celebrate it?

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 dead.

Why is Pentecost called Whit Sunday?

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was announced by Jesus himself 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 event considered unbecoming were forbidden, 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. While the Apostles and other disciples of Jesus Christ were praying together. So the Holy Spirit descended upon them in the form of “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 Muslim The 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 to drink. 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.

Read also: What is Immaculate Conception?

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 the pouring out of 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 who 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 dimension 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 ), the so-called because it is the fiftieth day after Easter.

Thank you for 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


1 / 10

How is Pentecost also called?

2 / 10

What is Pentecost?

3 / 10

John and his brother answered Jesus' call to follow him in which city they stopped?

4 / 10

What happened after Matthew received the Holy Spirit?

5 / 10

Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,  and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and _____." -Mark 1:14-15

6 / 10

Before they met Jesus, in what trade were John and his brother James employed?

7 / 10

The Holy Spirit come on Pentecost because it was about to offer deliberation from the of ____ death and sin.

8 / 10

When did Jesus talked about The Holy Spirit?

9 / 10

Who invented the Holy Spirit?

10 / 10

Did Nicodemus had the holy Spirit inside him?

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Read also: What is the meaning of Lent Fasting?


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  • 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).