Pentecost Quick Facts - GB

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


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Pentecost History

The Observance of Pentecost, also known as Whitsunday, is a significant Christian festival celebrated 50 days after Easter. This day marks the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and followers of Jesus Christ. According to the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament, this day symbolises the birth of the early Christian Church when the Holy Spirit empowered the disciples and enabled them to spread the Gospel. Pentecost stems from the Greek word pentēkostē, which means fiftieth.

Historically, Pentecost has been significant in the United Kingdom since the arrival of Christianity in Britain in the 3rd century. The celebration gained prominence during the medieval period, when it became customary for Christians to engage in various social practice. This included participating in fairs, sports, entertainment, and colourful processions. Worshippers would wear white garments that are reminiscent of the practice of baptisms that took place during the feast, hence the name Whitsunday. The British monarch is traditionally presented with Whitsun Ales, a type of beer brewed exclusively for this occasion.

Today, churches across the United Kingdom observe Pentecost through special services, hymns, prayers, and readings that focus on the Holy Spirit's descent upon the disciples. As a movable feast, the date of Pentecost varies each year. Pentecost occurrs seven weeks, or 50 days, after Easter Sunday.

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.
  • British evangelist and missionary Smith Wigglesworth and Welsh revivalist Evan Roberts were central figures in in the development and spread of the Pentecostal movement in the early 20th century.
  • A longstanding tradition in various parts of the United Kingdom, especially in the North of England, is the Whit Walks or Whit Processions. The processions feature congregations from different churches walking together in their Sunday best clothes.

Top things to do in the UK 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 by watching a movie on Christianity in the United Kingdom. Some suggestions include:
    1. Holy Ghost Reborn (2015) - This documentary, directed by Darren Wilson, is a sequel to the film "Holy Ghost" and includes modern-day stories of people encountering the Holy Spirit in the context of Pentecostal Christianity, including in the United Kingdom.
    2. Finger of God 2 (2018) - This documentary by Will Hacker takes viewers across the globe showcasing the power of God's love and the supernatural at work in people's lives, including Pentecostal experiences in the UK.
    3. The Journey: The Sixties Church in England to Late Twentieth Century Global Pentecostal/Charismatic Christianity (2018) - This documentary, directed by Tony Higton, details the history of churches across England during the 60s and how their approaches have been shaped by influential charismatic and Pentecostal movements.
  • Celebrate Pentecost by making a Simnel cake. This fruit cake is topped with marzipan and often decorated with 11 marzipan balls, representing the 11 apostles (excluding Judas).

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