Pentecost: When the Spirit came down
Pentecost, the day that Christians say the Holy Spirit of God descended on the first believers, is celebrated in churches worldwide today (May 24). According to the New Testament, the apostles of Jesus saw the Spirit in the shape of “tongues of fire,” giving them power to preach and evangelize.
Taking its name from its timing, 50 days after Easter Sunday, Pentecost is often called the “birthday of the church.” It is the Christian equivalent of Shavuot, the Jewish festival that follows Passover by seven weeks.
Roman Catholics, Episcopalians and Lutherans celebrate the day with bright red vestments and church trappings, symbolizing the flame of the Spirit.
— James D. Davis