Pentecost is one of the prominent feasts in the Christian liturgical year commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Christ after the Resurrection. The feast is also called Whitsunday especially in the United Kingdom. Pentecost is celebrated seven weeks (50 days) after Easter Sunday, hence its name. Pentecost falls on the tenth day after Ascension Thursday.
Pentecost is historically and symbolically related to the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot, which commemorates God giving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai fifty days after the Exodus. Among Christians, Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus as described in the New Testament Acts of the Apostles 2:1-31. For this reason, Pentecost is sometimes described as the "Birthday of the Church".
Since Pentecost itself is on a Sunday, it is automatically a public holiday almost everywhere. Additional restrictions to Sunday opening hours may apply.
Pentecost Monday is a public holiday in many European countries including Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, and (most parts of) Switzerland. In Sweden it is also a public holiday, but Pentecost Monday, through a government decision December 15, 2004, was abolished and replaced with the Swedish National Day. In Italy and Malta, it is no longer a public holiday. (From: Wikipedia, license: CCA-SA)