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.
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