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Whit Sunday in France

Many Christians in France mark the Holy Spirit's descent onto Jesus' followers on Pentecost Sunday (Pentecôte). People may attend special church services or spend the day with family or friends.

Is Whit Sunday a Public Holiday?

Whit Sunday is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday, June 9, 2019 and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in France.

White Dove
The dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit. Images of this symbol can be seen around the time of Pentecost, also known as Whit Sunday.
The dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit. Images of this symbol can be seen around the time of Pentecost, also known as Whit Sunday.
©iStockphoto.com/davidsorensen

What Do People Do?

Many Christians in France attend a special church service on Pentecost Sunday to celebrate the Holy Spirit's descent on Jesus Christ's followers. People blow trumpets during the service in some churches. The sound reminds them of the mighty wind that blew when the Holy Spirit descended onto Jesus' followers. People are baptized or re-baptized on Pentecost Sunday in other churches.

Other people spend Pentecost Sunday in a similar way to other Sundays. They may stay at home, take a walk in a park or the countryside or eat a meal of veal with family members or friends. Many people eat a picnic lunch outdoors. Pentecost Monday, which is the day after Pentecost Sunday, is a public holiday so some people take a short vacation over the long Pentecost weekend, perhaps to visit the family gîte (small house in the countryside).

Public Life

Public life is generally very quiet, as on other Sundays, on Pentecost Sunday. Post offices, banks, stores and other businesses are closed. Outside of tourist areas, restaurants and cafes may be closed. However, some stores in Paris, as well as at airports and railway stations and along major highways, may be open. Public transport service schedules vary depending on where one lives and intends to travel.

Museums that are normally open on Sunday may be closed while others may remain open. Churches may be closed for visitors who do not wish to take part in the services and guided tours may not be available.

More information

Some aspects of Pentecost are linked to the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. Read more about how people in Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States celebrate Pentecost.

About Whit Sunday in other countries

Read more about Whit Sunday.

Whit Sunday Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2010SunMay 23Whit SundayObservance
2011SunJun 12Whit SundayObservance
2012SunMay 27Whit SundayObservance
2013SunMay 19Whit SundayObservance
2014SunJun 8Whit SundayObservance
2015SunMay 24Whit SundayObservance
2016SunMay 15Whit SundayObservance
2017SunJun 4Whit SundayObservance
2018SunMay 20Whit SundayObservance
2019SunJun 9Whit SundayObservance
2020SunMay 31Whit SundayObservance

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