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Tweede Pinksterdag: Whit Monday in the Netherlands

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Did you know that only about twenty percent of people in the Netherlands identify as Christian? The majority of the population is atheist or doesn’t identify with a single religion.

However, Whit Monday (though a Christian holiday), is a day that both Christians and the non-religious can enjoy. What is the meaning of Whit Monday, and what kind of traditions take place in the Netherlands?

In this article, you’ll learn about the meaning of Pentecost Monday, explore how the Dutch celebrate it, and pick up some new vocabulary!

Let’s get started.

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1. What is Whit Monday in the Netherlands?

Whit Monday (the first Monday after Pentecost) is a Christian holiday that commemorates the giving of the Heilige Geest (“Holy Spirit” ) to the apostles. Because Christians consider this event to be the beginning of Christianity, the Whit Monday holiday is often called the “birthday of the Christian church.” The Catholic Church celebrates this holiday as the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.

The name “Whit Monday” derives from Pentecost’s other name: Whit Sunday (or Whitsun). “Whit” is thought to refer to the white-colored garments that people wanting to be baptized would wear on Pentecost. However, some people speculate that it could also have roots with the Anglo-Saxon “wit,” referring to one’s understanding. After all, the Holy Spirit is thought to grant understanding and wisdom to Christians.

This holiday has varying status around the world. In the Netherlands, Whit Monday is a public holiday, meaning that most people have the day off from work and school.

    → See our vocabulary list on Religion to learn some useful Dutch words!

2. What Date is Whit Monday This Year?

Monday Shown on a Calendar

Whit Monday is a moveable holiday, meaning that its date changes each year according to the Christian calendar and the date of Pasen (“Easter” ). For your convenience, we’ve outlined this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

    2020: June 1
    2021: May 24
    2022: June 6
    2023: May 29
    2024: May 20
    2025: June 9
    2026: May 25
    2027: May 17
    2028: June 5
    2029: May 21

3. How is Whit Monday Celebrated?

A Music Festival

As we mentioned earlier, Whit Monday in the Netherlands is a public holiday, giving the majority of the population time off work and school. However, Pentecost Monday tends to have less of a religious connotation than Pentecost Sunday does, and many people use this holiday as an excuse to relax and engage in activities they enjoy.

In particular, the Dutch like doing outdoor activities with friends and family in the warmer weather. Popular activities include kamperen (“camping” ), zeilen (“sailing” ), and fietsen (“cycling” ). The Dutch love flowers, so if rainy weather strikes, many enjoy visiting a tuincentrum (“garden center” ). Of course, many people enjoy lighter activities around the home or simply taking a short nature walk.

Above all, this holiday is about having fun with those closest to you. It’s a time for family members to reconnect and for good friends to catch up.

4. Muziekfestival

In the Netherlands, Whit Monday is also the perfect time to attend a muziekfestival (“music festival” ). And attending one is no small matter! The Netherlands is renowned for its massive, elaborate, and exhilarating music festivals, which take place year-round.

Around the time of Whit Monday (late May to early June), there are two music festivals you won’t want to miss: The Holland Festival and Pinkpop. If you’re a music junkie or just looking for a new experience, the Netherlands is a great place to get your fill. 😉

Expatica has a full list of can’t-miss music festivals in the Netherlands—check it out!

5. Must-Know Whit Monday Vocabulary

A Group of People Cycling

Ready to review the most important words and phrases for Whit Monday? Here you go:

  • Maandag — “Monday” [n. masc]
  • Pasen — “Easter” [n. masc]
  • Heilige Geest — “Holy Spirit” [n. masc]
  • Kamperen — “Camping” [n.]
  • Muziekfestival — “Music festival” [n. neut]
  • Zeilen — “Sailing” [n. neut]
  • Fietsen — “Cycling” [n.]
  • Tuincentrum — “Garden center”
  • Vrije dag — “Holiday” [n. masc]
  • Tweede Pinksterdag — “Whit Monday”

If you want to hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase listed above, visit our Dutch Whit Monday vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Whit Monday in the Netherlands with us, and that you took away some valuable cultural information!

Do you celebrate Whit Monday in your country? If so, are traditions there similar or quite different from those in the Netherlands? We look forward to hearing your answers in the comments!

If you want to keep learning about the Netherlands and the Dutch language, DutchPod101.com has many free resources for you:

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