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Pentecost
Norway

Pentecost 2017 and 2018

Pentecost is a Christian holiday that is celebrated in different parts of the world. Often referred to as Whit Sunday and Whit Monday, this holiday has a long and significant history in the country of Norway.

YearDateDayHoliday
20174 JunSunWhit Sunday
5 JunMonWhit Monday
201820 MaySunWhit Sunday
21 MayMonWhit Monday

Until 2012, Norway was one of the few North Atlantic countries that still had a state religion. Although the government has since separated itself from being associated with any specific religion, the majority of citizens of Norway still celebrate many of the Christian holidays on a national level.

The History of Pentecost

According to religious beliefs, Pentecost commemorates the day that the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and allowed them to speak in different languages so that they could go out and spread the word of Christ. This event took place during the Jewish Pentecost (fall festival) celebration and has since been referred to by this name.

Since then, Pentecost has been celebrated 50 days after Easter Sunday according to Christian tradition. Considered the “birth of Christianity,” Pentecost was always a very significant celebration. For many, this celebration lasted over a 3 day period, from Saturday through Monday. Since then, many countries still observe Whit Monday as a national holiday.

Often known as Whit Sunday and Whit Monday because of the white clothing worn by those being baptized or confirmed in the church during that celebration. Otherwise, bright red, representing the flame of the Holy Spirit, is the colour of Pentecost and even the priests wear these colours for this holiday.

There were a lot of superstitions attached to Pentecost in Norway during the Renaissance era. It was believed that after a day of feasting and enjoyment on the Saturday before Pentecost, you should arise early on Pentecost morning and sweep the front swoop of your home towards your front door. This was supposed to usher in a year of good luck for your family.

Another myth associated with this holiday in Norway is the myth of the Pentecost wolf. Wolves were the most feared animal in Norway in the 1600’s. They presented a danger to people as well as livestock. According to legend, on the night before Whit Sunday, after the celebrations have died down, the men of the village could go out when the moon has risen and call out to the wolves in the area. Under the spell, the wolves must answer, giving the men an easy way to find and dispose of the animals before dawn.

While there are no official celebrations, many churches hold special events on Pentecost Sunday and Whit Monday, such as baptisms, confirmations, and the releasing of red balloons with faith messages attached to their strings. The people of Norway often cook special meals and specialty desserts to enjoy these days, and most businesses are closed on that Sunday and Monday. Since Sunday is considered a day of rest in Norway, Whit Monday is an official public holiday throughout the country.