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Pentecost in the United States

Pentecost is a Christian holy day commemorating the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples of Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament of the Bible. It is also known as Whitsunday, or Whit Sunday.

Is Pentecost a Public Holiday?

Pentecost is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday, May 31, 2020 and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in the United States.

Many Christians in the United States reflect on the meaning of Pentecost and come together in fellowship for the event.

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What Do People Do

In the United States, Christians share their perspective about the meaning of Pentecost as well as how the diversity of languages and cultures can enhance their worship and fellowship with each another. Christians see Pentecost as an expansion of God's favor and care from Judaism to all peoples.

Many churches celebrate Pentecost with a mass or worship service on this day. In some churches, the secular Mother's Day holiday is probably celebrated more frequently than the Pentecost feast.

Public Life

Whitsunday is not a federal holiday in the United States.

Background

As recorded in the New Testament of the Bible, it was on the 50th day after Easter that the apostles were praying 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 became not only a commemoration of the Holy Spirit’s visit but also marks the birth of the Christian Church. Although it is not certain when Pentecost began to be observed by Christians, it may have been early as the first century. 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 always 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.

Symbols

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

About Pentecost in other countries

Read more about Pentecost.

Pentecost Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015SunMay 24PentecostChristian
2016SunMay 15PentecostChristian
2017SunJun 4PentecostChristian
2018SunMay 20PentecostChristian
2019SunJun 9PentecostChristian
2020SunMay 31PentecostChristian
2021SunMay 23PentecostChristian
2022SunJun 5PentecostChristian
2023SunMay 28PentecostChristian
2024SunMay 19PentecostChristian
2025SunJun 8PentecostChristian

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