Leigh Hatts  

Whitsun is Pentecost

Goosnagh Cake

Sixty years ago we would have said that Harry and Meghan had a Whitsun wedding. Philip Larkin wrote a poem called The Whitsun Weddings.

Pentecost used to be a big holiday weekend in England as it still is in France.

It was in 1965 that the Whit Monday Bank Holiday was rebranded Spring Bank Holiday and fixed on the last Monday in May. Now it only occasionally coincides with Whitsun.

Since then the name Whitsun, derived from the white worn by newly baptised at this time of the year, has given way to the original name Pentecost.

Whitsun was, and in some places still is, a time for special food.

Goosnargh in Lancashire, well-known for the Goosnargh duck, has a Whitsun speciality with caraway seeds called Goosnargh Cake.

It is more like a biscuit although a little larger than the Cornish Fairings originally sold at Whitsun and Corpus Christi fairs in the Duchy.

Pentecost marks the time Peter and the other Apostles in the upper room received the holy spirit in the form of fire and the sound of wind.

The Virgin Mary was present in the room.

Whit Monday or Pentecost Monday, even when not  holiday, is from this year being dedicated to Mary, Mother of the Church by decree of Pope Francis.

In Lancashire and Manchester there will be the traditional Whit Walks over the coming week, including many on Whit Friday, when Christians publicly demonstrate their faith.

A Cornish Fairing
Fairings now sold in packs as well as boxes


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