Pentecost Quick Facts - AU

AKA NameWhitsunday
HashtagsCompiled on#Pentecost
Related Hashtags#HolySpirit
2024 Date19 May 2024
2025 Date8 June 2025


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Pentecost History

Pentecost, also known as Whitsunday, is a Christian feast day that commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ. This occasion typically involves prayer services, special hymns and liturgical readings, and various communal gatherings that celebrate the gifts of the Spirit.

While the celebration of Pentecost can be traced back to the early days of Christianity, its observance in Australia gained prominence with the arrival of European settlers and the spread of the Christian faith in the continent. Australians mark the day with the colour red, symbolising the fire of the Holy Spirit. Followers also engage in charitable activities, reflecting the spirit of unity and love fostered by the event. Events such as the Australian Prayer Network and the Pentecost Festival in Sydney have sought to engage Christians from different denominations and backgrounds in prayer and worship, with an emphasis on contemporary relevance and engagement with the wider community.

Pentecost occurs 50 days after Easter Sunday, including Easter within the count, and is observed on the seventh Sunday after Easter. In the Western Christian calendar, this places it in the range of May 10th to June 13th. The Eastern Orthodox Church observes Pentecost between May 22nd and June 25th, depending on the year.

Pentecost facts

  • In the Roman Catholic tradition, Pentecost is sometimes called Whitsunday (pronounced: 'with - Sunday'). The name comes from the white color of garments that people wore who were being baptized typically wore.
  • The Holy Spirit, often depicted as wind or a dove in the Bible, is the third part of the Christian Trinity, which also includes the Father, God, and Jesus Christ, the Son. The Holy Spirit is also referred to sometimes as the Holy Ghost.
  • Red is the liturgical color associated with Pentecost, representing the flames of fire and the Holy Spirit's presence.
  • Pentecost has a strong connection with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as it was on this day in 1788 that the first Christian service was held in Australia, led by Reverend Richard Johnson.
  • In some parts of Australia, people light "Pentecost fires" during the evening or night of the feast, symbolizing the Holy Spirit's presence as "tongues of fire."

Top things to do in Australia for Pentecost

  • Pentecost is a particularly appropriate day to join a church. In the early church, it was a day when the newly converted, after a period of preparation, were baptized.
  • Some churches stress mission around Pentecost. See what your local church is doing to help your community and get involved.
  • Celebrate Pentecost and watch a movie about Christianity in Australia. Our suggestions include:
    1. Citizens of Heaven: The Australia Pentecostal Story (2020) by Peter and Lee-Anne Weimar is a documentary that traces the historical development of the Pentecostal movement in Australia from its roots in the early 20th century to its present-day impact on society and culture.
    2. Hillsong: Let Hope Rise (2016) directed by Michael John Warren is a documentary about the internationally popular Australian worship band Hillsong United, which emerged from the Hillsong megachurch, a Pentecostal Christian congregation.
    3. The Spirit of Pentecost (1996) by Adrian Curry is a documentary that explores the revival of Pentecostalism in Australia since World War II.
    4. Australian Story: From The Heart (2007) is a documentary series that aired on Australia's national broadcaster, ABC, which featured an episode on the Hillsong Church and its influence in Australian Pentecostalism.
  • Attend a local Pentecost Sunday church service. Churches across Australia hold special services on Pentecost Sunday, with prayers, songs, and activities that focus on the descent of the Holy Spirit and its significance to Christians.

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