Pentecost is a major Christian observance in French Guiana that takes place on the fiftieth day of Easter – 49 days after Easter Sunday. It is also known as Whit Sunday, and is celebrated with a Whit Monday public holiday each year.
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Pentecost is the final celebration of the seven-week Easter period. According to Christian belief, Pentecost commemorates the day that the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and disciples of Jesus, giving them the ability to speak in different languages to share the good news about Jesus.
The name “Whit” Sunday and Monday comes from the white clothes traditionally worn by those being baptised on this popular day for baptisms.
French Guiana is a major melting pot of cultures, religions, languages, culinary traditions, and holidays. But as a French overseas department, it also shares its holiday calendar with mainland France. And that means that Pentecost, or “Whit Sunday”, is on the holiday list.
Although attending mass or church and simply spending time at home with family is a major part of Pentecost Sunday and Pentecost Monday, no doubt the stand-out element of the celebrations is gathering with family and friends to eat a special meal. The mix of European, African, and Amerindian flavours makes for a unique and unforgettable “taste bud experience”.