Whit Monday

National Holiday observed in several European Countries

St Peters Basilica, Holy Spirit window

When is Whit Monday?

Year Date
2018 May 21
2017 June 05
2015 May 25
2014 June 09

Who observes Whit Monday?

Austria Austria Bahamas Bahamas
Barbados Barbados Belgium Belgium
Denmark Denmark France France
Germany Germany Hungary Hungary
Iceland Iceland Liechtenstein Liechtenstein
Luxembourg Luxembourg Monaco Monaco
Netherlands Netherlands Norway Norway
Saint Lucia Saint Lucia Switzerland Switzerland (regional)

Whitsuntide, also known as Pentecost, is observed fifty days (approx. seven weeks) after Easter and 10 days after Ascension.

It marks the end of the Easter cycle, that began 90 days ago with Ash Wednesday at the start of Lent.

Until fairly recently, Whit Monday was a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland. Until 1967, it was a bank holiday in the United Kingdom, when it was replaced by the 'spring bank holiday' on the last Monday in May .

It gets its English name for following "Whitsun", the day that became one of the three baptismal seasons.

The name "Whitsunday" is now generally attributed to the white garments formerly worn by the candidates for baptism on this feast.

The day commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit in the form of flames to the Apostles, as recorded in the New Testament in Acts, 2.

The Holy Spirit allowed the apostles to speak in other languages, and they started preaching the word of Jesus to the Jews who come to Jerusalem for the feast of Shavuot (Pentecost). Many Christians recognize this event as the birth of the Church.

The following day, Whitmonday (Pentecost Monday) is celebrated as a holiday in many European counties.

Did you know?

In some northern European countries, such as Finland and Estonia, the usual custom of painting eggs happens at Whitsun rather than Easter as Chickens didn't start laying eggs until later in the year due to less daylight before the advent of electric lights.

Whitmonday around the world


The holiday is celebrated in Greece as Pentecost or Holy Spirit Monday. The date in the Orthodox church will differ from the Western church due to the different methods of calculating the date of Easter.


The whole of Pentecost week used to be a holiday, but after the 1789 revolution only the Monday remained a public holiday.

In 2003, France suffered a heat wave, which resulted in almost 15,000 deaths, mainly elderly people. This prompted the idea of how to increase the funding for additional care for the elderly. In 2005, it was decided to encourage workers to give up one day's holiday - and Lundi de Pentecôte was selected. At first, an encouraging 44% of people gave up the holiday, but this amount diminished over the years; so much so that it was reinstated as a public holiday in 2008, instead the idea now is that each French worker has a 'solidarity day'. They can give up a holiday, a vacation day, a compensation day or even seven hours divided up all through the year.


In Switzerland, Whit Monday is also known as Pentecost Monday and is a public holiday in all cantons apart from Valais.

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