Whit Monday: May 20
Whit Monday is a Christian holiday celebrated around the world.
Whit Monday, popularly known as the Monday of the Holy Spirit or Pentecost Monday, is a day celebrated by Christians around the world directly after the day of Pentecost. The holiday is considered moveable as its date is determined by the date of Easter in both the Eastern and Western forms of Christianity.
History of Whit Monday
Observed by Christians as early as the first century AD, Whit Monday is the day that the Holy Ghost came upon the disciples of Jesus Christ who received the “gift of tongues” on the 50th day after Easter, according to the New Testament. It gets its name from Whitsunday which is a reference to the white cloths worn by those who are newly baptized on Pentecost.
The word Pentecost derives from the Greek pentekoste, a reference to the fiftieth day. In ancient times, the feast of Pentecost was originally calculated with Easter Sunday being the first day of fifty, putting the feast of Pentecost on Pentecost Monday.
In recent years, Whit Monday’s status as a public holiday has changed in many countries. It’s no longer a public holiday in many of the former British colonies, and recently Ireland removed the public status of it. France changed its status in the mid-2000s to an unpaid word day with the lost funds being donated to charity. However, France re-instated it as a public holiday in 2008.
Whit Monday Traditions, Customs and Activities
Many countries throughout the world celebrate this day in their own local ways. Many hymns are sung during the services on Monday of the Holy Spirit in Eastern Orthodox Churches. After this period, the weeks start ritually on Mondays instead of Sundays until the next holy week which will conclude on a Saturday. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, many of the same rituals performed on Pentecost are again practiced on Wit Monday.