Whitsun, also known as Whitsunday, White Sunday or Whit Sunday is the Christian festival of Pentecost. It falls on the seventh Sunday after Easter and commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Christ's disciples as mentioned in The Bible. The term Pentecost comes from a Greek word that means "fiftieth" as it refers to the festival celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover. It is also known as the 'Feast of Weeks' and the 'Feast of 50 days' in rabbinic tradition. Pentecost 2020 falls on May 31.

While originally, the Jewish Pentecost was a post-harvest thanksgiving feast, later it came to be included in remembrance of God's Covenants with Noah and Moses. Thus, Pentecost or Whitsunday is one of the main observances of Christians. Pentecost is considered to be the birthday of the Church, for those born again into Christ's spiritual body.

Jewish Pentecost

Followers of both Judaism and Christians celebrate Pentecost. In Jewish Pentecost, every male Jew living within twenty miles of Jerusalem should traditionally visit Jerusalem to participate in the feast. Jewish Pentecost is also known by the name Shebuot or Shavuot (The Feast of Weeks).

Christian Pentecost

Pentecost marks the end and of the Easter season for Christians. It is believed to be the day when the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles in the form of different tongues. This event took place fifty days after the Resurrection of Jesus.

Celebrations Related to Pentecost or White Sunday

In England, Pentecost celebrations are combined with pagan observances on Summer's Day. Christians around the world observe the day by attending special church services. It is believed to be the day recognising God's gift of Holy Spirit which was given to believers. The name Whit Sunday comes from 'White Sunday', which is derived from Old English homilies that stated: 'The Holy Ghost, whom thou didst send on Whit-Sunday.' Churches organise parades on this day where people attend wearing white coloured clothes. Dancings and fairs are a part of Whit Sunday in some traditions.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on May 29, 2020 01:22 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).