When is Whit Monday 2023: is it a bank holiday, traditions and relation to Pentecost explained

Whit Monday is a Christian festival celebrated a day after Pentecost Sunday

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Whit Monday is a Christian religious festival celebrated the day after Pentecost or Whitsun. The day, which is also known as Monday of the Holy Spirit, is a moveable feast in the Christian calendar and is a public holiday around the world.

Whit Monday gets its name from Whitsunday which is an English name for Pentecost - one of the three baptismal seasons. But what is Whit Monday, and when is it in 2023? Here’s what you need to know.

When is Whit Monday? 

Whit Monday will fall on 29 May 2023 for Western Christians and 5 June 2023 for Eastern Christians. It is a moveable feast, as Whit Monday is always celebrated 50 days after Easter. The date of Easter depends on when the first full moon after the spring equinox is.

Eastern Christianity celebrates religious events on different dates as their religious calendar is calculated through the Julian calendar, rather than the Gregorian one.

What is the history behind Whit Monday? 

Whit Monday, according to the Roman Catholic church, is also known as the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It also marks the Ordinary Time, which is the period between Easter and Christmas. In 2018, Pope Francis added a new liturgical feast on Whit Monday to celebrate the Virgin Mary under the title of Mother of the Church which was conferred upon her during the Second Vatican Council.

Whit Monday derives its name from Pentecost, also known as Whitsun, which is a date to commemorate the day the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles during the Feast of Weeks. It was during this time the Apostles were also given the ‘gift of tongues’, a spiritual gift that allows a supernatural ability to speak in a language unknown to the speaker.

In many countries where Whitsun and Whit Monday are celebrated, Whit Monday is also known as ‘the second day of Pentecost’ or ‘the second Whitsun’. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Whit Monday is known as Monday of the Holy Spirit, marking the first day of the after feast of Pentecost to commemorate God and the Holy Spirit.

The day after Whit Monday is also known as the Third Day of the Trinity.

How is Whit Monday celebrated? 

Whit Monday is a public holiday in many parts of the world, from Montserrat, across Europe, to Togo. In France, Whit Monday became a ‘worked public holiday’ in 2005, for people to raise extra funds following the Government’s lack of preparation for a summertime heatwave, leading to a shortage of healthcare for the elderly.

In countries like Liechtenstein, Whit Monday is considered to be a ‘favourite holiday’ much like Christmas in other countries, and in South Tyrol, an autonomous province in Northern Italy, it replaces the holiday of the local patron saint.

Since 1871, Whit Monday was celebrated as a bank holiday in the UK, but this was changed in 1971. From 1972, we now have the Spring Bank Holiday on the last Monday of May to replace it. This year, the Spring Bank Holiday is Monday 29 May.