Pen·te·cost /ˈpɛntɪˌkɔst, ˌkɑst/
1. A solemn festival of the Jews; -- so called because celebrated on the fiftieth day (seven weeks) after the second day of the Passover (which fell on the sixteenth of the Jewish month Nisan); -- hence called, also, the Feast of Weeks. At this festival an offering of the first fruits of the harvest was made. By the Jews it was generally regarded as commemorative of the gift of the law on the fiftieth day after the departure from Egypt.
2. A festival of the Roman Catholic and other churches in commemoration of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles; which occurred on the day of Pentecost; -- called also Whitsunday.
n 1: seventh Sunday after Easter; commemorates the emanation of
the Holy Spirit to the apostles; a quarter day in
Scotland [syn: Whitsunday]
2: (Judaism) Jewish holy day celebrated on the sixth of Sivan
to celebrate Moses receiving the Ten Commandments [syn: Shavous,
Shabuoth, Shavuoth, Shavuot, Feast of Weeks]
i.e., "fiftieth", found only in the New Testament (Acts 2:1;
20:16; 1 Cor. 16:8). The festival so named is first spoken of in
Ex. 23:16 as "the feast of harvest," and again in Ex. 34:22 as
"the day of the firstfruits" (Num. 28:26). From the sixteenth of
the month of Nisan (the second day of the Passover), seven
complete weeks, i.e., forty-nine days, were to be reckoned, and
this feast was held on the fiftieth day. The manner in which it
was to be kept is described in Lev. 23:15-19; Num. 28:27-29.
Besides the sacrifices prescribed for the occasion, every one
was to bring to the Lord his "tribute of a free-will offering"
(Deut. 16:9-11). The purpose of this feast was to commemorate
the completion of the grain harvest. Its distinguishing feature
was the offering of "two leavened loaves" made from the new corn
of the completed harvest, which, with two lambs, were waved
before the Lord as a thank offering.
The day of Pentecost is noted in the Christian Church as the
day on which the Spirit descended upon the apostles, and on
which, under Peter's preaching, so many thousands were converted
in Jerusalem (Acts 2).