Whit Monday in Western Christianity Date in the current year: May 20, 2024

Whit Monday in Western Christianity Whit Monday, also known as Pentecost Monday, is a movable feast celebrated the day after Pentecost. In the Catholic church, it has been celebrated as the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church since 2018.

The name “Whit Monday” is derived from the word “Whitsun” or “Whitsunday”, which is used in the English language for the festival of Pentecost. Pentecost was one of the three baptismal seasons, and the name “Whitsun” (a contraction of “White Sunday”) is believed to refer to white garments that the newly baptized used to wear on this day. Whit Monday is the day after Whit Sunday and the first day of the so-called Whitsun-week.

Whit Monday is a public holiday in some countries, where it is often referred to as the second Whitsun or the second day of Pentecost. As of 2021, these countries include Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Benin, the Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Denmark and the Faroe Islands, Dominica, France and its overseas possessions, Gabon, Germany, Greenland, Grenada, Hungary, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Monaco, the Netherlands and Sint Maarten, Norway (including Svalbard and Jan Mayen), Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands, Switzerland, Senegal, Togo, and some British overseas possessions.

In some countries, Whit Monday used to be a public holiday until being replaced by other holidays, for example, by the Spring Bank Holiday in the United Kingdom and Ireland or by the National Day of Sweden in Sweden.

Although Whit Monday is a civic holiday in many countries, established so that people have an additional day off in honor of Pentecost, it wasn’t a major feast in the Catholic church until recently, although some dioceses in Germany considered it a holy day of obligation. The situation changed in 2018, when Pope Francis declared it the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.

The title “Mother of the Church” (Mater Ecclesiae) was officially given to the Virgin Mary by Pope Paul VI, although it had been occasionally used well before that. In 1981, a mosaic of Our Lady, Mother of the Church was installed in one of the buildings in St. Peter’s Square and blessed by Pope John Paul II. In 1992, the Pope included the title into the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Finally, in 2018, Pope Francis decreed that the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church be celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost every year.

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Whit Monday, Pentecost Monday, Christian holiday, religious holiday, Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of the Church