Whit Monday or Pentecost Monday (also known as Monday of the Holy Spirit) is the holiday celebrated the day after Pentecost, a movable feast in the Christian calendar. It is movable because it is determined by the date of Easter.
Whit Monday gets its English name for following "Whitsun", the day that became one of the three baptismal seasons. The origin of the name "Whit Sunday" is generally attributed to the white garments formerly worn by those newly baptized on this feast.
The Monday after Pentecost is a holiday in Austria, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominica, France, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Gibraltar, Hungary, Iceland, Côte d'Ivoire, Luxembourg, Monaco, Montserrat, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands and Switzerland. In many of these countries, Whit Monday is known as "the second day of Pentecost" or "the second Whitsun". In France, it became a work day for many workers from 2005 to 2007. This was to raise extra funds following the government's lack of preparation for a summertime heat wave, which led to a shortage of proper health care for the elderly. It continues to be a public holiday in France. In Liechtenstein, Whit Monday is considered to be a "favorite holiday"; much like Christmas in many other countries. In Germany, Whit Monday (German: Pfingstmontag) is a Holy Day of Obligation for Roman Catholics.
Until 1973, Whit Monday was a public holiday in Ireland (also called a bank holiday). It was a bank holiday in the United Kingdom until 1967. It was formally replaced by the fixed Spring Bank Holiday on the last Monday in May in 1971. It was also a public holiday in various former British colonies, especially in the Pacific. It remains a public holiday in some of the countries of the Commonwealth Caribbean. In Sweden, Whit Monday was a public holiday until 2004 as it was replaced by the National Day of Sweden from 2005.
Although Whit Monday is a civil holiday in many countries, it is not in any sense a Catholic religious holiday more than the other weekdays that follow Pentecost Sunday. Until the 1969 revision of the General Roman Calendar, they were part of the octave of Pentecost, which was added in the 7th century. The Monday after Pentecost is now the first day of the resumption of Ordinary Time.
Note: while the details differ from diocese to diocese, the most widespread practice in Germany (where the holiday remains of obligation) is to have a compulsory votive Mass of the Holy Spirit outranking even solemnities (these would be local solemnities in that case). For other countries where Whit Monday is a public holiday, such a votive Mass seems most appropriate as well (unless the rank of the day should prohibit the celebration of a votive mass).
Observance in Eastern Orthodoxy
In the Eastern Orthodox Church Whit Monday is known as "Monday of the Holy Spirit" or "Day of the Holy Spirit" and is the first day of the afterfeast of Pentecost, being dedicated specifically to the honor of God the Holy Spirit and particularly in commemoration of his descent upon the apostles at Pentecost. The day following is known as Third Day of the Trinity. In the services on the Monday of the Holy Spirit many of the same hymns are sung as on the day of Pentecost itself. During the Divine Liturgy the Deacon intones the same introit as on the day of Pentecost, and the dismissal is the same as on the day of Pentecost. Special canons to the Holy Spirit are chanted at Compline and Matins.
|2000||June 12||June 19|
|2002||May 20||June 24|
|2003||June 9||June 16|
|2005||May 16||June 20|
|2006||June 5||June 12|
|2008||May 12||June 16|
|2009||June 1||June 8|
|2012||May 28||June 4|
|2013||May 20||June 24|
|2015||May 25||June 1|
|2016||May 16||June 20|
|2018||May 21||May 28|
|2019||June 10||June 17|
|2020||June 1||June 8|
The table on the right provides columns giving the dates on which Whit Monday is observed in both Western and Eastern Christianity. The Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches calculate Pascha (Easter) differently from the West (see Computus), and so the date of Whit Monday will be different most years.
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