Whit Monday, also known as Pentecost Monday or the Monday of the Holy Spirit, is the movable Christian Feast day that is celebrated on the day after the Pentecost Sunday. In some places, the day is also known by the names of “The Second Day of Pentecost” or “The Second Whitsun”. The date of Whit Monday is calculated in keeping with that of the Easter date, and as such the date of observance may vary from year to year.
Whit Monday is one of the three seasons chosen for baptismal purposes. The origin of the term Whit is often attributed to the white garments that were traditionally worn by those who were newly baptized. The symbols that represent this day are flames, wind and dove.
Whit Monday in the next few years:
The date of observation of Whit Monday differs according to the Western Churches and the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches. This is because the latter ones calculate the date of Pascha (Easter) in a different way than that of the Western Churches. The Computus (method of calculation of the date of Easter) in case of the Western Churches is done according to the modern day Gregorian calendar, while in the case of and the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches the calendar system that is followed is the traditional Julian calendar. Naturally in most years the dates of Whit Monday differs.
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The Christian feast of Pentecost is to commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles who as a result received “The Gift of Tongues”. This event happened after fifty days of Easter. That is, Pentecost occurs roughly seven weeks post the day of Easter (inclusive). This day also marks the origin of the Christian Church. It is often believed that the day has been observed by the Christians since as early as the first century. Whit Monday is the day after Pentecost, and as such is also a movable feast since its day is determined in conjunction with the date of Easter, which again is dependent on the ecclesiastical approximation that is made regarding the March equinox.
Public Life in United States:
In the United States, this is not considered to be a federal holiday, as such businesses and organizations operate according to their regular schedule. The same is applicable in case of public transportation that runs as per schedule on this day.
Observations in United States:
In the United States, Whit Monday is often observed by some churches by organizing rallies and street marches. This is of course accompanied by prayers. The day is special since most of the churches consider this day to be part of the octave of Pentecost and as such the Whitsun Week is also known as Whitsuntide that encompasses Whit Sunday or Pentecost. In a broader perspective, Pentecost and Whit Monday are rituals that act as the closing point of the Easter cycle. In some parts of the country however this practice has taken the shape of a votive mass of the Holy Spirit. In some dioceses there exists a mandate regarding this as also in the vase of other impending feasts. In the prayer services the hymns of the Pentecost are typically sung also on this day by the Choir.
In Pennsylvania, United States, due to high concentration of Dutch population, Whit Sunday used to be one of the major holidays of the year in the earlier times. Also in the region, since the year 1835 to just after the period of Civil War, Whit Monday was often referred to by the name of the “Dutch Fourth of July”, especially at Lancaster, where people used to celebrate the occasion by feasting and merrymaking.
As per the observances of the Eastern Orthodox Church, this day is considered to be the first “Afterfeast” day of Pentecost, and this day is especially dedicated to pay tribute to the God of the Holy Spirit. The event of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles is commemorated. The following day here is known as the Third Day of the Trinity. Even during the Divine Liturgy, intones of the Deacon as well as the dismissals are in the same theme as that on the day of the Pentecost. Sometimes, special canons are chanted dedicated to the Holy Spirit.