Pentecost Monday: Another French Holiday I Had No Idea Existed

Pentecost Monday aka Whit Monday in France

Pentecost Monday or as the French call it, “Lundi de Pentecôte” is yet another holiday that occurs in the month of May. The kids don’t go to school, grocery stores are either closed or close early, most businesses are closed and the bus and trains are running on a special holiday schedule if at all.

What is Pentecost Day?

As with many of the French holidays, I had to do a little research to understand what this holiday was all about.

Pentecost Day, or La fête de la Pentecôte is a religious holiday, Unlike Victory in Europe Day which is a civil holiday,

The name Pentecost is descended from the Ancient Greek word pentếkosta which means “the fiftieth day”. True to it’s name, Pentecost occurs fifty days after……. Easter and It celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and officially ends the Easter celebrations which lasts seven weeks.

Technically, there are two days of Pentecost. The first is on Sunday and the second, falls on a Monday.

Like Easter, Pentecost Monday is a “ A movable feast”. In Christianity, a movable feast is a religious holiday – ( a feast or fast day) that falls on different dates in response to the date of Easter which is also a movable feast because IT’S date varies also.

I won’t get any more detailed than that. If you are interested in learning more, you can start by reading this and then doing your own research.

Other countries that celebrate Pentecost day.

Many countries celebrate Pentecost Monday but it may be called by another name; Whit Monday.

Austria, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany,Greece, Grenada, Gibraltar, Hungary, Iceland, Côte d’Ivoire, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Saint Lucia, Solomon Islands and Switzerland.

It used to be a holiday in Ireland and the UK but as of 1973, both countries no longer celebrate this holiday.

How is it celebrated in France

Pentecost Pilgrimage from Notre Dame paris to Cartres

Each year there is a Pentecost pilgrimage where up to 12,000 pilgrims from 30 countries walk from the cathedrals of Notre Dame in Paris to Notre Dame de Chartres.

The pilgrimage to Chartres originated in the 12th century and was revived in 1983.

Pilgrims are organized into groups of between 20 to 60 people who will walk through the streets of Paris, the countryside, and then arrive in Chartres.


Summary and How Are We Celebrating

So how are we celebrating? I am almost embarrassed to say that we are not celebrating Pentacost day and for us it’s just another day.

Catherine and I used this day, that she normally goes to school, to finish up one of the piñata’s that we are making for her 6th birthday party which will be a good ole North American “cowboy and Indian” themed kids party.

Pentecost day is just another day for us


About the Author

Annie André Is a half Thai, half French Canadian/American freelance writer, digital marketer and author of THE LIVE IN FRANCE GUIDE: an expat travel and lifestyle blog featuring destination guides, inspiration, travel tips, personal advice and anecdotes on working, living and playing in France. ( Equal parts weird, wacky and wonderful).

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