Home > Calendar > Holidays > Canada > Pentecost

Pentecost in Canada

Pentecost is a Christian observance commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus Christ’s disciples, according to the Bible. Many Christians in Canada celebrate Pentecost, which is also known as Pentecost Sunday, Whitsunday, or Whit Sunday.

Dove in the sky
The dove often symbolizes the Holy Spirit, according to Christian belief.
The dove often symbolizes the Holy Spirit, according to Christian belief.
©iStockphoto.com/ong kok keat

What Do People Do?

Many churches in Canada have special Pentecost services. Bible passages regarding the Holy Spirit’s descent on Jesus’ disciples are read out during the services. Some churches may organize special events, such as Pentecost services at seniors’ residences. Poems and songs dedicated to the Holy Spirit are read out or sung in some churches.

Sunday school activities focus on the events that took place during Pentecost, which is described in the New Testament in the Christian Bible. Activities include puzzles and games, take-home sheets that summarize what students learned in class, stained glass craft, and coloring pages.

Public Life

Whitsunday is not a statutory public holiday in Canada.


According to the Christian Bible, it was on the 50th day after Easter when the apostles prayed together and the Holy Spirit descended on them. They received the “gift of tongues” – the ability to speak in other languages – and immediately began to preach about Jesus Christ to Jewish people from all over the world who flocked to Jerusalem for the Feast of Shavuot.

Christian Pentecost not only commemorated the Holy Spirit’s visit but also marked the birth of the Christian Church. Although it is not certain when Christians started observing Pentecost, it may have been early as the first century CE. Whitsuntide, also referred to as Whitsun in modern times, is the period beginning with the Saturday before Whitsunday and ending the following Saturday.

According to church tradition, Pentecost is about seven weeks after Easter Sunday, or 50 days after Easter, including Easter Day. In some Orthodox churches, Whitsunday is observed after the date set by the western churches. This is because some Orthodox churches still observe holidays according to the Julian calendar, which preceded the Gregorian calendar adopted by many western churches. The Easter date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox.


The symbols of Pentecost are those of the Holy Spirit and include flames, fire, wind, and a dove.

About Pentecost in other countries

Read more about Pentecost.

Pentecost Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
SunMay 232010PentecostChristian 
SunJun 122011PentecostChristian 
SunMay 272012PentecostChristian 
SunMay 192013PentecostChristian 
SunJun 82014PentecostChristian 
SunMay 242015PentecostChristian 
SunMay 152016PentecostChristian 
SunJun 42017PentecostChristian 
SunMay 202018PentecostChristian 
SunJun 92019PentecostChristian 
SunMay 312020PentecostChristian 

Quick Facts

Many Christians in Canada observe Pentecost, also known as Whitsunday or Whit Sunday.

Pentecost 2015

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pentecost 2016

Sunday, May 15, 2016


Name in other languages


Alternative name

Pentecost Sunday

List of dates for other years

Related holiday

Other holidays in May 2016 in Canada

Fun Holiday on May 24, 2016

Other calendars

Related links