“A day in the country is worth a month in town”Christina Rossetti

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dutch Fourth of July - Lancaster County

This road is by a beautiful 1700's stone, grain mill building and barn I was photographing as I was driving around Lancaster on Monday.
The local traffic of buggies was unavoidable at that time. Everyone was coming home from their services and picnics.I went to visit an old Amish neighbor who has a health food store, earlier in the day, and the sign on her door read "CLOSED - Religious Holiday". Driving around, I noticed many large gatherings, picnics, and volleyball games ( just the men!) on lawns. As the day went along, I found out that it was Whit Monday. I remember in England, Whitsuntide was a celebrated time, but I had forgotten about the term till this week.

Whit Monday Background
Christian Pentecost commemorates the Holy Spirit’s visit to the apostles who received the “gift of tongues” on the 50th day after Easter. It also marks the birth of the Christian Church. Although it is not certain when Pentecost was first observed by Christians, it may have been early as the first century. Pentecost occurs roughly seven weeks after Easter Sunday, or 50 days after Easter, including Easter Day. Like Pentecost, Whit Monday is movable because it is determined by the Easter date.

Whit Monday used to be one of the major annual holidays in Pennsylvania Dutch country in the United States. From around 1835 to just after the Civil War, Whit Monday was referred to as the “Dutch Fourth of July” in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where people came to eat, drink and be entertained.


Fair warning: Don't be in a hurry on Lancaster roads on Whit Monday!


Jim said...

Very interesting post. I honestly didn't remember this holiday until I saw this. I spent the first 26 years of my life in the county, and it's nice to come back to a site like this. Good pictures!


Deere Driver said...

Thanks Jim!

I think when we live in a great place like you do, we tend to not notice the trees for the forest. Coming back as a visitor these days, I think I have a greater appreciation of the area than before, although I've always loved Lancaster.

Its changed a lot though, but I still travel the back roads, so I see the Lancaster of 30 years ago back there.