Christians in Finland celebrate the feast of Pentecost on the seventh Sunday after Easter. The Easter season concludes with Pentecost.
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This feast usually falls between the middle of May and the middle of June. It was originally the name of a Jewish feast that took place on the 50th day after the first day of Passover. Pentecost is derived from the Greek word for 50.
Christians believe that the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles on this day. Tongues of fire appeared over their heads as they were meeting in Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit filled them, and they began to speak in different languages. There were travellers from a number of countries in Jerusalem at this time, and the Apostles were able to speak to them all in their own languages.
The Apostles told the people gathered in Jerusalem about God. They baptised several thousand people that day, and a number of people consider Pentecost the birthday of many Christian churches. Christians have observed the feast since the third century.
Pentecost is also known as Helluntai in Finland. Helluntai comes from Swedish words that mean holy day. Whitsunday is derived from White Sunday. Many people would wear white when they were baptised. Pentecost is still a common day for baptisms in Finland.
Many Christians in Finland begin their observance by attending church. The hymns sung in church on Pentecost include hymns to the Holy Spirit. Red is the liturgical colour for the feast, and Catholic priests wear red when they celebrate Mass on this day. Church services may be celebrated on Pentecost with additions such as more songs and the use of incense. Some churches hold evening services the day before Pentecost. Evening prayer is sometimes said before these services.