The Day of Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles of Jesus Christ nearly 2,000 years ago. Pentecost is also known as Whit Sunday in Belgium, and the public holiday is celebrated the next day on “Whit Monday”.
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According to the New Testament, the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles of Jesus Christ in the form of cloven tongues of fire when they had gathered together in Jerusalem on the Jewish Day of Pentecost.
When the tongues of fire descended, the disciples received the gift of the Holy Spirit as well as the gift to speak in other languages. This enabled onlookers, many of whom had travelled to Jerusalem from distant lands for the festival, to miraculously hear the disciples declaring the Gospel in their own language.
Christian Pentecost is a moving holiday since it occurs seven Sundays after the celebration of Easter Sunday. The exact date of Easter is determined by calculating the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox. The vernal equinox, or first day of spring, occurs when the earth has completed one-quarter of its 365 day journey around the sun.
The Day of Pentecost is a day for worship, family time and holiday feasting. Many churches also offer special services on Whit Monday. Whit Monday is also known as the Monday of the Holy Spirit. The celebration of Pentecost indicates the end of the annual Easter cycle which begins with Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.