Whit Monday, also known as Pentecost Monday, is celebrated on the day after Pentecost, and it marks the end of the 90 days of Easter Season, which begins with Ash Wednesday. In the Christian calendar, Whit Monday is a moveable feast, as its date depends on which day Easter falls on.
Whit Monday is not a public holiday in the United States, businesses and schools remain open as usual.
Whit Monday is so called because Pentecost is also known in English as Whitsunday. This is one of the baptismal seasons, which is where the prefix "whit" comes from, because of the white garments that those who are baptized during this season wear after their baptism.
On the 50th day after Easter, the apostles were said to have been visited by the Holy Spirit, who descended upon them giving them the ability to speak in many different languages. Many see the original Pentecost as the birth of the Catholic Church as we know it today because as they were able to speak in different tongues, Jesus's apostles went to spread the word and teachings of Jesus Christ to different people in different countries.
While Whit Monday is no longer a public holiday in the United States, it was a major holiday for the Pennsylvania Dutch settlers in America. From 1835 until 1865, just after the Civil War, Whit Monday was known as the "Dutch Fourth of July", and people gathered to celebrate with food, drink, and music.
In the Orthodox Church the day is known as Holy Spirit Monday and often falls on a different day to the Christian Whit Monday, as the Orthodox Church follows a different calendar.
How Whit Monday is Celebrated
Whit Monday is not a day of obligation in the United States, but churches around the country will organize prayer rallies, comprising prayers and street processions.