Pentecost is a Christian holy day that celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit 40 days after Easter. Pentecost Sunday (also called Whit Sunday, Whitsun, or Whit) is a liturgical day celebrated or commemorated in many churches in both the Western and Eastern traditions regarding the coming of the Holy Spirit to the church.
Pentecost 2020 will be celebrated on May 31.
What exactly is Pentecost?
The English word “Pentecost” is a transliteration of the Greek word pentekostos, which means “fifty.” It comes from the ancient Christian expression pentekoste hemera, which means “fiftieth day.”
But Christians did not invent the phrase “fiftieth day.” Rather, they borrowed it from Greek-speaking Jews who used the phrase to refer to a Jewish holiday. This holiday was known as the Festival of Weeks, or, more simply, Weeks (Shavuot in Hebrew). This name comes from an expression in Leviticus 23:16, which instructs people to count seven weeks or “fifty days” from the end of Passover to the beginning of the next holiday (pentekonta hemeras in the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Scripture).
Shavuot was the second great feast in Israel’s yearly cycle of holy days. It was originally a harvest festival (Exod 23:16), but, in time, turned into a day to commemorate the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai. This day became especially significant for Christians because, seven weeks after the resurrection of Jesus, during the Jewish celebration of Shavuot/Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon his first followers, thus empowering them for their mission and gathering them together as a church.
Symbolic Colour of Pentecost:
The colour red is the symbolic colour in the Western churches. Red signifies the tongues of fire of the Holy Spirit set upon the disciples of Jesus on Pentecost Sunday. The vestments worn by ministers and priests are the color red. Some Western churches place red flowers within the church and some include red banners and to signify the blowing of the wind when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples.
A different color, green, is used within the Eastern Churches. Greenery, such as branches or shrubbery, is carried throughout services. The color green depicts “life and growth” of which the parishioners grow spiritually through the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Celebrations of Pentecost during COVID-19 lockdown:
Sing “Veni, Creator Spiritus” or “We Are One in the Spirit, We Are One in the Lord” or “In Christ There Is No East or West” at home with your family.
Encourage everyone to wear red. Serve red foods, such as strawberries, cranberry juice, or bread served with raspberry jam.
Read Africa Dream, a short story book by Eloise Greenfield, to discover the richness of God’s gift of memory and imagination. Prepare to discuss ways in which the lives of our ancestors can affect who we are today.
Make wind socks: Obtain white paper lunch bags and decorate them with felt markers or crayons. Use glue or staples to attach a tailor crepe paper streamers (red, orange, yellow) to the bag at the corners. Punch a hole in the other end of the bag and tie a 6-foot length of string or yarn to the bag.
10 Things about Pentecost:
- Pentecost Sunday marks the day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles.
- Pentecost Sunday occurs 50 days after Easter.
- The Bible records the Pentecost in Acts 2:1-13.
- Pentecost comes 10 days after the Ascension of Jesus Christ.
- Pentecost is also known as “the birthday of the Church”.
- Pentecost fulfills Jesus’ promise to send the “Counselor” and “Spirit of Truth” in John 16-5-15.
- Pentecost launches the large-scale spreading of the Gospel after Jesus’ ascension. Acts 2:41 records that after Peter spoke to the crowd after receiving the Holy Spirit, some 3,000 people were baptized.
- The Pentecostal movement derives its name from the New Testament event in Acts 2.