The Monday after Pentecost is a holiday in Austria, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Gibraltar, Hungary, Iceland, Côte d'Ivoire, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Saint Lucia, Solomon Islands and Switzerland. In many of these countries, Whit Monday is known as "the second day of Pentecost" or "the second Whitsun". In France, it became a work day for many workers from 2005 to 2007. This was to raise extra funds following the government's lack of preparation for a summertime heat wave, which led to a shortage of proper health care for the elderly. Contrary to what many sources report, Pentecost Monday did not become a public holiday again in 2008. Many offices are indeed closed that day, but only because employees are required to use one of their "overtime days" (RTT) to make this happen. In Liechtenstein, Whit Monday is considered to be a "favorite holiday"; much like Christmas in many other countries. In Germany, Whit Monday (German: Pfingstmontag) is a Holy Day of Obligation for Roman Catholics.And let us not forget this lesson from Father Z.
Whit Monday used to be the Monday within the octave of Pentecost. As after the liturgy reform the octave of Pentecost fell away - along the line that Pentecost as a closing-point of the Easter circle was not to have an afterfeast - it came to be a Monday in Ordinary Time, despite its still being a public holiday in many countries. These, most of the time, have assumed the practice to celebrate a votive mass of the Holy Spirit, in some dioceses compulsorily and even in case of otherwise impeding feasts.
Years ago I told this Pentecost Monday tale and it has made the rounds.Let us not forget Pope Benedict's last public remarks on the Council of the Media.
It stands being repeated.
I think this stands as a lesson for what happens when we lose sight of continuity.
Take this for what it may be worth. Some years ago I was told this story by an elderly, retired Papal Ceremoniere or a Master of Ceremonies who (according to him) was present at the event about to be recounted.
You probably know that in the traditional Roman liturgical calendar the mighty feast of Pentecost had its own Octave. Pentecost was a grand affair indeed, liturgically speaking. In some places in the world such as Germany and Austria Pentecost Monday, Whit Monday as the English call it, was a reason to have a civil holiday, as well as a religious observance.
The Monday after Pentecost in 1970 His Holiness Pope Paul VI rose bright and early and went to the chapel for Holy Mass. Instead of the red he expected, there were green vestments laid out for him.
He queried the MC assigned that day, "What on earth are these for? This is the Octave of Pentecost! Where are the red vestments?"
"Santità," quoth the MC, "this is now Tempus ‘per annum’. It is green, now. The Octave of Pentecost is abolished."
"Green? That cannot be!", said the Pope, "Who did that?"
"Holiness, you did."
And Paul VI wept.
Let me go on record stating that I think the Holy Spirit is important enough for an Octave. This de-emphasis of Him who gives us the gifts necessary to live in grace was a major mistake and seems to contractict the whole point of Vatican II.