Christians worldwide will be observing the holy day of Pentecost on Sunday, an observance that derives from the descending of the Holy Spirit to Earth upon the early Church in an event recorded in Acts 2:1–40.
"Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from Heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them," reads the first few verses of the Acts passage.
Here are five things you should know about the practices and history associated with Pentecost Sunday (click on the next page).
Although a defining moment in the New Testament, the Pentecost celebration started long before the disciples had the Holy Spirit come upon them.
Pentecost was originally a harvest festival that was known as "The Feast of Weeks" or "Shavout," taking place 50 days after Passover.
"Israelites brought the first fruits of the harvest to the Temple, hence the name Hag ha'Bikkurim, the Festival of First Fruits," noted Tzippe Barrow, a Jerusalem-based producer for CBN.
"They likely brought some of the seven species with them — olives, grapes, wheat, barley, figs, dates, and pomegranates — those harvested in the spring after the winter rains."
The name "Pentecost" derives from a Greek word meaning "fiftieth." The reason is that the date falls 50 days after Easter, the highest holy day on the Christian calendar.
For the original Jewish festival, the significance was that it was 50 days after Passover. Regardless, 50 is a prominent calendar feature.
"This name came into use in the late Old Testament period and was inherited by the authors of the New Testament," noted the National Catholic Register.
The Pentecostal Movement derives its name from the holy day, as their worship stresses the receiving and the moving of the Holy Spirit.
In 2017, Pope Francis announced plans to host a Pentecost Sunday worship service that included not only Catholics but also Pentecostals.
Catholic News Service reported last month that the head of the Roman Catholic Church invited approximately 300 Charismatic and Evangelical leaders to Rome for Pentecost Sunday.
"While some Pentecostals in some parts of the world, especially in Latin America, have a reputation for trying to convince Catholics to leave the Church, the reality is that the Catholic-Pentecostal relationship is much more varied," noted CNS.
"In many places, they share praise, worship, music and Bible studies with Catholic charismatics, and they set out together to proclaim to all that Jesus is Lord and work alongside each other to feed the poor and defend the unborn."
For many churches, it is common for the clergy to wear red for Pentecost, and to also have items like the vestry and the altar decorated with red banners.
"Red is the color of blood and represents the burning love of the Holy Spirit," noted the website Our Sunday Visitor.
"Red vestments are worn on Palm Sunday, Good Friday, all feasts of Our Lord's Passion, on Pentecost and on the feast days of martyrs."
In keeping with the theme of red, a 2010 piece on the United Methodist Church's website noted that traditional ways of celebrating Pentecost include the Italian custom of dropping rose petals from the ceiling during worship and draping things in crimson fabrics.
Among the many things done by churches to observe Pentecost, one that many congregations do, namely those who practice infant baptism, is to confirm their youth.
Confirmation involves young people, usually teenagers, making their own profession of faith and becoming official members of a congregation.
According to an entry on the Catholic website The New Theological Movement, there is a longstanding link between the Confirmation and Pentecost.
"The catechism of the Catholic Church sees Pentecost as the principal scriptural foundation for the sacrament of confirmation," noted TNTM in a 2012 essay.
"The connection between confirmation and Pentecost is so strong, that the Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent desired that the sacrament 'be administered principally at Pentecost,' explaining that 'on that day especially were the Apostles strengthened and confirmed by the power of the Holy Ghost.'"