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Pentecost

Pentecost 2017 and 2018

Whitsun, or Whit Sunday, is a common religious holiday celebrated throughout Europe, including Germany.

YearDateDayHolidayStates
20174 JunSunWhit SundayBB
5 JunMonWhit MondayNational
201820 MaySunWhit SundayBB
21 MayMonWhit MondayNational

This holiday is celebrated on Sunday, with a public holiday on the following Monday, by Christians throughout the country in remembrance of Pentecost, more commonly referred to as Pfingsten in Germany.

Whit Sunday is celebrated on approximately the 50th day of the Easter season, or Osterfestkreis, and is the culmination of the Easter cycle that starts with the Ash Wednesday of Lent. The celebrated date changes each year depending on what date Easter Sunday falls on, but is typically observed in late May or early June. The celebration revolves around Pentecost, also referred to as the birthday of the Church, an event celebrated by Christians marking when the holy spirit came down on the apostles. The event is celebrated mainly by the Roman Catholic church and the Eastern Orthodox church.

Celebrations vary depending on what part of Germany you visit. It’s not uncommon to see areas of the country decorated in beautiful red flowers to signify the fire of the holy spirit, as well as birch branches, with birch often associated with both the planting of the Pentecost tree (Das Pfingstbaumpflanzen) as well as the Pentecost wreath (Der Pfingstenkranz). Most churches open their doors Whit Sunday featuring special events, such as church services, organ recitals and other musical concerts. In Berlin, Whit Sunday also corresponds with the Carnival of Cultures parade.

Since Whit Sunday is a public holiday, various privately owned businesses may be closed, while others may stay open through the holiday. If you’re visiting Germany during this time, it’s a good idea to call ahead to the sites and businesses you plan to visit to ensure they’ll be open during the affected Sunday or Monday.