Whit Sunday or Pentecost Sunday in France is an Observance Holiday and this year (2016) it falls on Sunday, 15 May. Monday the 16th is Pentecost Monday and is a National public holiday. When I visited Saint Severin Cathedral earlier this week, preparations appeared to be underway for Sunday’s service. This Cathedral has the most vibrantly coloured and detailed stained glass windows; each depicting a different scene.
Many Christians in France attend a special church service on Pentecost Sunday to celebrate the Holy Spirit’s descent on Jesus Christ’s followers. The dove symbol may be found in cities or towns around this time as the dove symbolises the Holy Spirit.
In some churches during the special service people blow trumpets, with the sound symbolising the mighty wind that blew when The Spirit descended. Followers may be baptised or re-baptised on Pentecost Sunday.
For many others, this day is like any other Sunday: meals with family, walks around their local park and usually not going to work. Picnic luncheons are popular on Pentecost Monday.
For the tourist, there may be no access to some churches during services, there will be more traffic on the roads at either end of the long weekend (families often travel to their country homes) and cafes and restaurants outside of the main tourist areas may be closed. Banks, most shops, and post offices will be closed as per usual on a Sunday.
I am sure many families will head to the tranquil and small public park, Place de Dauphine, situated on the Ile de la Cite. The trees are in bloom at the moment as can be seen in the watercolour painting created from my photo taken the other day.
Have you travelled to a new city or location only to find yourself unable to do very much due to a National Holiday or Strike that you were unaware of? How did this change your plans?
Take care and have fun, Annette xx
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