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Pentecost ( [ ], pentekostē [hēmera], "the fiftieth [day]") is one of the prominent feasts in the Christian liturgical year. The feast is also called Whitsun, Whitsunday, Whit Sunday, and Whitsuntide, especially in the United Kingdommarker. Pentecost is celebrated seven weeks (49 days) after Easter Sunday, hence its name. Pentecost falls on the tenth day after Ascension Thursday.

Historically and symbolically related to the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot, which commemorates God giving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinaimarker fifty days after the Exodus, Pentecost now also commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus as described in the Book of Acts, Chapter in the New Testament. For this reason, Pentecost is sometimes described as "the Church's birthday".

The Pentecostal movement of Christianity derives its name from this biblical event.

Biblical narrative



The biblical narrative of Pentecost is given in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. As recounted in (CEV):

The apostles received the Holy Spirit and were miraculously enabled to go out into Jerusalem prophesying and speaking in languages that all the visitors to Jerusalem could understand as told further in : "Many religious Jews from every country in the world were living in Jerusalem ... they were hearing everything in their own languages." The noise and activity attracted a huge crowd and the Apostle Peter preached a sermon to the crowd with some effectiveness, as reports: "On that day about three thousand believed his message and were baptised."

Location of the first Pentecost

It is believed that the events of the first Pentecost recorded in the New Testament Book of Acts took place at the Temple Court located south and south-west of the Temple Mountmarker, an area excavated by Israeli archaeologist Benjamin Mazar shortly after the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967. In the Jerusalem Christian Review, Dan Mazar wrote about the archaeological discoveries made at this location by his grandfather, Prof. Mazar, which included the first century stairs of ascent, where Jesus and his disciples preached, as well as the "mikvaot" (or baptismals) used by the "three thousand" who were baptized on the day of Pentecost, according to the Book of Acts.

Literary allusions

According to legend, King Arthur always gathered all his knights at the round table for a feast and a quest on Pentecost:
So ever the king had a custom that at the feast of Pentecost in especial, afore other feasts in the year, he would not go that day to meat until he had heard or seen of a great marvel.



Date

Pentecost is part of the Moveable Cycle of the ecclesiastical year. According to Christian tradition, Pentecost is always seven weeks after Easter Sunday; that is to say, 50 days after Easter (inclusive of Easter Day). In other words, it falls on the eighth Sunday, counting Easter Day (see article on Computus for the calculation of the date of Easter). Pentecost falls in mid- to late spring in the Northern Hemispheremarker and mid- to late autumn in the Southern Hemispheremarker.

Since the date of Easter is calculated differently in the East and West (see Easter controversy), in most years the two traditions celebrate Pentecost on different days (though in some years the celebrations will coincide, as in 2007). In the West, the earliest possible date is May 10 (as in 1818 and 2285), and the latest possible date June 13 (as in 1943 and 2038). In the East, the earliest possible date is May 24, and the latest possible date June 27.

Public Holiday

Since Pentecost itself is on a Sunday, it is automatically a public holiday almost everywhere.Pentecost Monday is a public holiday in many European countries including Austriamarker, Belgiummarker, Cyprusmarker, Denmarkmarker, Estoniamarker, Francemarker, Germanymarker, Hungarymarker, Luxembourgmarker, Netherlandsmarker, Norwaymarker, Polandmarker, Portugalmarker, Romaniamarker, Spainmarker and (most parts of) Switzerlandmarker. In Swedenmarker it is not a public holiday, since Pentecost Monday (Annandag Påsk) through a government decision 15 December 2004 was abolished as a public holiday, in favour of June 6th, the National Day of Sweden. This made the average work-year 2 hours 17 minutes longer, since Pentecost Monday was always on a Monday, while June 6th moves, so it can occur on a Saturday or Sunday. The unions where not happy, and union-talks 2007 led to guarantees that employees would be compensated for the extra hours.In Italymarker it is no longer a public holiday either, but they are discussing whether to re-establish it or not(Senat: Nr.940; Kammer: Nr. 1647).

See also



References

External links




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