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6 Creative ways to celebrate Pentecost this Sunday

"Pentecost" by Albrecht Dürer, c.1510 (Detail)

Metropolitan Museum of Art | Public Domain

"Pentecost" by Albrecht Dürer, c.1510 (Detail)

Cecilia Pigg - published on 05/14/24

The gifts given by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost were unexpected and original. In that spirit, we should try and celebrate the day as creatively as we can.

Several years ago, I was at a bachelorette weekend far from my home on the feast of Pentecost. I went to Mass at the closest Catholic church — which happened to be a church within walking distance of our Airbnb. I can’t point to anything particularly extraordinary or outstanding about the liturgy or the church itself that day, but all I know is the Holy Spirit moved my heart powerfully, and I walked away feeling like a new person.

Ever since that day, I always find myself looking forward to the feast of Pentecost. It is such an important feast in our Church that it deserves celebrating. And in honor of the unexpected and dazzling gifts that the Holy Spirit gave to the Church that day, it seems appropriate that we try to be as creative as possible in our approach.

In that spirit, here are some creative ways to celebrate the day either by yourself or with others. These are all based on aspects of what we know about Pentecost from the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.

“Tongues of fire”

Make a birthday cake with candles for the Church’s birthday. You can make a good case that you know the Church’s favorite flavor and style of cake, because she is universal!

Other ways to incorporate fire in your day would be grilling dinner, enjoying a dessert that incorporates flames, (bananas foster, creme brulee), drinking flaming rum punch, eating by candlelight, having a backyard bonfire. Just please make sure you follow basic fire safety rules.

“A noise like a strong driving wind”

Watch The Wizard of Oz for a reminder of the power of a strong, driving wind! Then break out some kazoos for your family as a reminder of intense or cacophonous noise. If you have any woodwind playing friends, having those instruments play a strong, driving tune might be a more melodic option. Or listen to a triumphant and energetic piece of music like “Ride of the Valkyries” or “Jupiter” from Gustav Holst’s Planets Suite.

“Speaking in different tongues”

If you are having an adult-only gathering, then maybe watch a foreign movie with subtitles. Try Babette’s Feastor Life Is Beautiful. For more ideas, look here.

Enjoy a movie that features bringing the gospel from one culture to another such as Silenceor The Mission.

Or check out the 2016 science fiction movie, Arrival, that explores language and communication.

“From every nation under heaven”

Have a party where you invite your family or friends to do some research on one of the nations represented at Pentecost. (Check out this map for geographical context). Then, guests could share some of their research by dressing like the people of that nation (kids would love this), bringing food or something symbolic from that nation, or even just creatively decorating a name badge that has their name and nation on it.

“These people are not drunk as you suppose, for it is only nine in the morning”

In honor of what is surely one of the best one-liners in the New Testament, why not host a Pentecost brunch and invite friends to join after Mass? (You earn bonus points if you celebrate immediately after the 9 a.m. Mass.)

Encourage people to bring a side or drink to share — like mocktails or a fruit dish to represent the 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit. (If you are going with option two, then your dish must have exactly 12 different fruits. If you are going to do this, then do it right!)

“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about 3,000 persons were added that day”

Here’s an outside-of-the-box idea: Why not break out some water guns and have an epic water gun fight? One would never baptize 3,000 people by dousing them with streams of water, of course (though it would be efficient). However, it seems like a water gun fight would be a wonderful way for all ages to experience the celebratory mood that must have overtaken the apostles and newly baptized on that day.

Whichever way you choose to celebrate this coming Sunday, everyone at Aleteia would like to wish you a blessed and joy-filled Pentecost!

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