Updated: May 27, 2021
What is Pentecost? (Try saying that five times fast!) Pentecost comes from Greek meaning fiftieth, referring to the festival celebration 50 days after Passover. It is also a holiday that is both celebrated by Christians and Jews, but be careful not to confuse the two, as they both are celebrated differently and for different reasons.
The Christian Pentecost is a joyous holiday that celebrates the spread of the gospel throughout the world. On the seventh Sunday after Easter, Pentecost is celebrated by Christians in Israel and all over the world. Christians believe that on this day the eleven apostles were celebrating the Jewish Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon them surrounding them with a very strong wind that looked like tongues of fire! Soon after, the apostles found themselves speaking in foreign languages, inspired by the Holy Spirit.
During Pentecost, you will see church ministers wearing robes with red in the design as a symbol of the flames in which the Holy Spirit came to earth. There are quite a few more symbols of Pentecost like wind, the breath of God, and doves.
Pentecost in Israel
One of the holiest sites in Christianity in Jerusalem and held sacred to Christians is the Cenacle, also known as the “Upper Room”, and is a holy place on Pentecost. This Upper Room can be found in the David's Tomb Compound in the Old City in Jerusalem and is traditionally held as the site of the Last Supper and the site where the apostles received the Holy Spirit.
Pentecost in Israel has its own unique celebratory traditions that center around the Upper Rooms. The morning of Pentecost begins with the Franciscan friars of the Custody of the Holy Land hold a morning mass at St. Savior's Church In Jerusalem. After Mass, Second Vespers are held in the Upper Room in the afternoon. The day is special and revered by many, as the Upper Room may only be entered twice a year by the Franciscan friars, with one of those two days being the day of Pentecost.
Before the Franciscan friars enter the Upper Room for Second Vespers, they proceed through crowds of eager pilgrims who traveled from all over the world to celebrate Pentecost at the site of its inception.