Whit Monday

Sometimes called Pentecost Monday, this Christian holiday takes place the Monday after Pentecost, the date of which is determined by Easter and the March equinox. The name originates from traditional white clothing worn by those who are baptized during this religious baptismal season of Whitsun.

The day is seen as a continuation of the celebration of Pentecost, which centers on worship of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, there are not many traditions for Whit Monday completely separate from the Pentecost traditions, except for perhaps a heavier emphasis on baptism. Not all churches hold religious services on Whit Monday, but some may include Mass, prayer, and readings of the Pentecost story. Orthodox Churches consider this day “Monday of the Holy Spirit” and give a similar service to the Pentecost service, structured according to the Divine Liturgy and centered on the Holy Spirit.

Whit Monday used to be considered the “Dutch Fourth of July” for the Pennsylvania Dutch, celebrated as a major holiday marked by a gathering of eating, drinking, and merriment. This practice has diminished, but many US churches hold prayer rallies and some English regions celebrate with Whit Walks, parades of wind instruments and religious officials. These celebrations often feature a festival of dancing and food.

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