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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Greece Series at GreekPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Greek holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 14 - Pentecost. In Greek, it's called [Πεντηκοστή]
Forty-nine days after Easter, Greek people celebrate Pentecost, the second largest holiday of Orthodoxy. As revealed by its name, it refers to an event that occurred in Jerusalem fifty days after the resurrection of Christ, in which 3,000 believers were baptized, thereby establishing the very first Church. Today, this day is celebrated as the birthday of Church.
In this lesson, you will learn details about the celebration of Pentecost.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
What is the meaning of Pentecost in the history of the world?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
In Jerusalem, fifty days after the resurrection of Christ, Jewish people from many different parts of the world gathered for the Jewish “Festival of Weeks,” or in Greek [Γιορτή των Εβδομάδων]. Jesus’ students were praying in a home along with others when a loud noise was heard and tongues of fire rose up, bestowing upon them the gift of multilingualism. This occurrence was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The students then began to speak about God in various languages to the Festival’s multinational crowd. Some festivalgoers thought that the disciples were drunk, but most kept listening to them preach in their mother tongues with surprise.
Today, Pentecost always falls on a Sunday. According to popular Greek belief, starting from Easter up until the night before Pentecost, which is a "Soul Saturday" or in Greek [Ψυχοσάββατο], the souls of the dead wander amongst us on Earth. Greeks do not remove spider webs or cut tree branches during this period, so as to not disturb the souls sitting there.
In a previous lesson, it was mentioned that Soul Saturdays are days that honor the dead. The souls do not want this Soul Saturday, however, because it is followed by Pentecost, which is the day they return to the underworld, where they are locked away until the following Easter.
Pentecost Sunday is also named “Kneeling One” or in Greek [Γονατιστή], because during the Divine Liturgy, people kneel down three times as a bow to the souls who, at that point, are returning to the underworld.
Those living should not look sad, so that the souls can exit this world peacefully. Some people hold lit candles as well, in order to help the souls find their way back more easily. Many also close their eyes so that they won’t see the sad souls. In some regions, people kneel on walnut tree leaves or in Greek [φύλλα καρυδιάς]. These leaves are bitter, and therefore function as symbols of the bitterness that lies within the souls of the dead on that day.
From Easter up until Pentecost, Greek people collect their hanging laundryーespecially their linen and underwearーbefore the sun goes down, so that the souls won’t sit on them during the night. If the laundry is forgotten out, it is collected the next morning and rewashed in water.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
What is the meaning of Pentecost in the history of the world?
Pentecost is marked as the day Christianity started spreading all over the world, drastically impacting the course of human history. For example, in the Greek world, Christianity replaced the traditional worship of the gods of Olympus, and changed many ancient Greek habits and customs.
How did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Does your country have any beliefs regarding the dead like Greece does?
Leave us your comments on GreekPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson.

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Does your country have any beliefs regarding the dead like Greece does?