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Pentecost

The colour red

When is Pentecost?
Pentecost happens seven weeks after Easter, ten days after Ascension Day. It is celebrated on the Sunday which falls on the fiftieth day after the Easter festival.

The Holy SpiritWhat does 'Pentecost' mean?
The name Pentecost comes from a Greek word which means fiftieth. 

Why do we celebrate Pentecost?
At Pentecost, Christians celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is the third person of the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is often portrayed as flames or as a dove. There is a window in St. James's with a dove in it. You'll need to look up high to find it. See the picture on the right. Pentecost is recognised as the birthday of the Christian church, and the start of the church's mission to the world. 

The Story
Pentecost remembers the story of the Holy Spirit being given to Jesus' disciples so that they could spread the message of Christianity. The story is that, during the Jewish festival of Pentecost, a wind blew through the house where the disciples were gathered and flames rested on their heads. Then when the disciples spoke, people of all nationalities and languages could understand them. The Apostle Peter preached a sermon which resulted in 3,000 people becoming believers.

Pentecost is also called Whitsuntide. Whit Sunday is traditiomally a favourite day for baptism. It is thought that because people are often baptised dressed in white, Whit Sunday was probably originally known as 'White Sunday'.

The church colour for Pentecost is red, the colour of fire, and therefore of the Holy Spirit so is used at services which concentrate on the Holy Spirit like baptism, confirmation and ordination. The frontal on the altar, the altar cloths, the pulpit fall and the Bible book mark are changed to match the colour of the priest's robes.