Whitsun Day


Whitsun Day
   A high Festival observed in the Church on the fiftieth day after Easter, in commemoration of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost as "they were all with one accord in one place" in Jerusalem. Whitsun Day is the Birthday of the Christian Church, and as such it has been commemorated for nearly two thousand years by Christian people and observed by them with holy joy and deep thanksgiving for the fulfilment of our Lord's promise to send the Comforter to His comfortless people.
   By the devotions of Whitsun Day we have brought to our remembrance, in the most beautiful and striking manner, the operations of God by the Spirit's power. By Proper Psalms, Proper Lessons and Eucharistic Scriptures, and by Proper Preface in the Communion Service, we learn how that in the Holy Ghost and His Presence in the Church we have the great power and renewing grace of God made availing to us. The ecclesiastical color is red as symbolical of the "cloven tongues like as of fire," in which form the Holy Ghost lighted on the head of each of the Apostles. (See Holy Ghost.)
   As to the derivation of the word "Whitsun" there seems to be great uncertainty and difference of opinion. Some derive it from the word white, shortened to "whit," in reference to the diffusions of light and knowledge which on this day were shed upon the Apostles, in order to the enlightening of the world; also in reference to this being the time of Baptism in the ancient Church, each candidate being clothed with white garments. Others derive it from the old Saxon word wit, meaning wisdom which is the special gift of the Holy Ghost. Again others derive it from the word Pentecost, the original name of the Festival, through the German Pfingsten, hence Pingsten, changed in the Saxon to Wingsten, and this being corrupted into Whitsun, meaning, therefore the same as Pentecost, that is, the fiftieth day. (This last seems to be the most probable derivation as is seen in the use of the terms Whitsun Monday, Whitsun Tide, etc.)
   This Festival is of especial interest to Churchmen as it was on Whitsun Day, June 9th, 1549, that the Book of Common Prayer, in English, was first used. "That day was doubtless chosen," says a beautiful writer, "as a devout acknowledgment that the Holy Ghost was with the Church of England in the important work then taken. May He ever preserve these devotional offices from the attacks of enmity or unwisdom, and continue them in that line of Catholic unity wherein He has guided the Church hitherto to keep them."

American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. — New York, Thomas Whittaker. . 1901.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Whitsun Day — Whit|sun|day «HWIHT SUHN dee, day; HWIHT suhn day», noun, or Whitsun Day, the seventh Sunday after Easter; Pentecost. ╂[Old English Hwīta Sunnandæg < hwīt white + Sunnandæg Sunday (probably because of the custom of wearing white baptismal… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Whitsun — [hwit′sən, wit′sən] adj. [ME whitsone < whitsondei, understood as Whitsun Day: see WHITSUNDAY] of or observed on Whitsunday or at Whitsuntide …   English World dictionary

  • Whitsun Monday; Whitsun Tuesday —    Two days observed with great solemnity as the continuation of the High Festival of Whitsun Day. For the origin and appointment of these days see EASTER MONDAY and TUESDAY …   American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Whitsun Tide —    The week beginning with Whitsun Day is so called. During this week the Whitsun Ember Days are observed, (Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday), as a preparation for Trinity Sunday, one of the stated times of Ordination …   American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Whitsun — n. & adj. n. = WHITSUNTIDE. adj. = WHIT. Etymology: ME, f. Whitsun Day = Whit Sunday …   Useful english dictionary

  • Whitsun — (Old English for White Sunday ) is the 49th day (seventh Sunday) after Easter Sunday. In the Christian calendar, it is also known as Pentecost, commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples.It has that meaning in the following:* …   Wikipedia

  • Whitsun —    The English name for the Church festival otherwise called Pentecost, held on the seventh Sunday after Easter as the commemoration of the descent of the Holy Spirit and the inspiration of the Apostles. The derivation of the word Whitsun is… …   A Dictionary of English folklore

  • Whitsun ales —    The term Whitsun ale is somewhat ambiguous, being used in both a general and specific way. The ale part signifies a festival or celebration; originally one in which ale was specially brewed and sold by the organizer for profit, and from the… …   A Dictionary of English folklore

  • Whitsun Tuesday — noun the day after Whitmonday • Syn: ↑Whit Tuesday • Hypernyms: ↑Tuesday, ↑Tues • Part Holonyms: ↑Whitsun, ↑Whitsuntide, ↑Whitweek * * * …   Useful english dictionary

  • Whitsun Monday — Whitmonday Whit mon day, n. (Eccl.) The day following Whitsunday; called also {Whitsun Monday}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English