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The paucity of my religious knowledge

So, this other work I do then, slight change for Monday:

Knew about UK – “late may bank holiday” or summat, isn’t it? What used to be Whitsun – which I never knew what that was. But. US Memorial Day.

Pentecost tho’? Why the Scandis celebrating that?

Pentecost is one of the Great feasts in the Eastern Orthodox Church, a Solemnity in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, a Festival in the Lutheran Churches, and a Principal Feast in the Anglican Communion.

Ah, Lutherans. No Papists taking the day off tho’. Nor non-US colonials.


17 thoughts on “The paucity of my religious knowledge”

  1. Ascension Day and Pentecost/Whitsun are celebrated across Europe in both Prod and Popish countries, it was Corpus Christi that Luther really abhorred. Our holiday doesn”t always coincide with Pentecost, because of course Easter moves around, but it is usually thereabouts. Mrs T ( pbuh ) wanted to get rid of the May Day holiday, but it was imposed by the EEC and there were no suitable alternative candidate dates.

    I think Ascendion Day has been cancelled in a few places because of the log jam of holidays in May. When I lived in De and Oe, it was impossible to get any work done in this time of the year.

  2. My recollection is that Whitsun used to move around in synch with Easter and consequently could be in early May. When the May Day holiday was introduced, the Government decided to ditch Whitsun for a fixed holiday at the end of May to avoid (occasionally) having successive holidays a week apart.

  3. I remember doing Whit walks as a kid – parading a religious banner on Whit Sunday. Does anyone still do that now? This was an Anglican church.

  4. Pentecost is the slightly weird one – the Holy Spirit coming down on the Apostles, flames, speaking in tongues, all sorts of odd stuff.

    I’m not sure, but I think the Charismatic wings of the various churches tend to like that sort of thing, hence perhaps it being a Lutheran holiday. I think it’s also a big thing in the Caribbean, so surprised you didn’t get any mentions there.

    We Catholics have just had Ascension Thursday, which the Proddies seem not to like so much, so perhaps that’s why Pentecost is a bigger thing in Lutheran countries. Pentecost was big in medieval Catholic times though; think it was a full week off for the peasants.

    It’s always on a Sunday (because the original one was, and it’s the symbolic founding of the Church), but it’s 7 weeks after Easter, so which Sunday it falls on varies with Easter. The Monday being a public holiday is extending the celebration rather than marking the day itself.

    Whitsun is the old English term for Pentecost, possibly derived from priests having worn white vestments that day, or possibly not.

  5. Did they not teach you this stuff at school? Surely the monks were still there in your day.

  6. Decnine is quite right, but just to point out that the “Government” was one in the mid 19th Century.

    At one point there was something like 125 possible holidays ( Jewish included ) in the calendar and these had to be rationalised and whittled down. The August Bank Holiday was until quite recently at the beginning of the month, but was moved to coincide with the end of the school holidays. The Great War broke out during an August Bank Holiday and so no one knew about it until we had already been at war for a couple of days.

  7. Weirdly, the Benedictines have never really been all that worried about the public show of Catholicism. The God bit, sure, but the big celebrations, no, not really.

  8. The Meissen Bison

    which I never knew what that was

    …but they were real sticklers for English usage?

  9. Whitsunday is/was the English name for Pentecost, the fiftieth day (Jews included both the beginning and end day of a period) seven weeks after Easter Sunday.
    Harold Wilson scrapped the Whit Monday Bank Holiday in favour of one on the Socialist/Marxist May Day.

  10. 1st of May is the anniversary of the founding of this great nation. So, nah! May Day Bank Holiday is Union Day. Get Chor Union Flags!

    Dunno if it’s a tradition of any sort, but this weekend seemed the right time to do a spot of tidying on the ancestors’ resting place.

  11. Bank holidays were a clever idea for the Victorians, when workers would otherwise get no holiday at all.
    But now we should simply abolish all bank holidays and give everyone an extra 8 days holiday a year to take when they like. Bank holidays are just days when you can’t do anything, because everyone else is doing something too (in SE England, at least).

  12. Next Monday is a holiday in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Netherlands. Spain is taking off Tuesday and Wednesday.

    May 18 – Ascension? – was a holiday in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden

    Make of that what you will. No one wants to work in May?

  13. Chris: Ain’t that true. Traffic is totally manic round here today, and as well as the Sunday Drivers we’ve also got the Bank Holiday Drivers. I came off a roundabout in the outside lane behind a slow driver, who never moved over when it was clear. I eventually undertook her (Bad Boy!!) and she stayed in the outside lane doing about 40-50mph in a 70 limit for the whole 3 miles to the next roundabout.

  14. Bloke in North Dorset

    We’re currently in north Bavaria close to the old East German border. We were surprised to find that the shops were open as usual today, no early closing, and the Chefin at the site we were at last night was surprised I even asked about early closures. The site tonight is a brewery and the attached Gasthaus has closed their kitchen for the weekend.

    We’re finding it all confusing because like Otto we remember everything shutting down for serious holidays like this one.

    We’re going to Coburg tomorrow and it will be interesting to see how seriously they do take the day.

  15. “was moved to coincide with the end of the school holidays.” I once read that the August Bank Holiday was moved because so many people had persuaded themselves that the weather tended to be better at the end of August than at the start. Which shows that people have always had trouble remembering the weather.

  16. Dearieme


    I live by the seaside and it always chucks it down on August Bank Holiday Monday !

  17. We used to go to a lovely music festival at the Abbey of Melk at Whitsun.

    In German it is called Pfingsten, I used to call it Sphincter, which I found hilarious. My missus would just roll her eyes.

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