Feast of the Holy Spirit

Monday, May 28, is the ‘Feast of the Holy Spirit’ (Pentecost), which is a national holiday in Greece and is celebrated across the country.

The date of Pentecost is determined by that of Easter, for, according to the Bible, it was seven weeks following Jesus’ Resurrection that He sent the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and other Christian disciples gathered in prayer in Jerusalem. Forty days following the Resurrection, Jesus ascended, and Ascension Day is also a Christian holiday. As Easter occurs about a week later, most years, on the Orthodox calendar, so does Pentecost. Generally, Orthodox Pentecost falls anywhere from late May to mid-June.

While Pentecost comes on a Monday, the previous Sunday is the scene of late-night vigils at many Orthodox churches. Churches may be adorned with flowers and other greenery, priest wear green too, and there are special liturgies and songs, mostly focusing on the Holy Spirit. This is called the ‘Trinity Sunday’ service. On Pentecost Monday, also called ‘Holy Spirit Monday’, a very similar service will also be held. The following Tuesday is also celebrated, and fasting is forbidden for a week.

Towns and villages across Greece will celebrate the weekend, but especially on Monday, when there will be local events including traditional music, dancing and feasting. These tend to be organised by the local churches, so are not advertised. We advise that you ask locally what celebrations are occurring in your area.

On Monday, official offices will be closed, including Post Offices and staffed archaeological sites and museums. Bus and ferry companies will usually adopt their Sunday timetable.

However, most independent tourist attractions, tourist shops, restaurants and tavernas will be open, although the latter two will be busy from lunchtime onwards with locals celebrating the day!