God pinse! .... but what is "pinse" all about??

Ok, so you've probably noticed that the stores are closed today? Maybe you're having a day off of work as well? But WHY? What is going on? What is this "pinse"-thing all about?

Well, as you might have figured, Norway is an old Christian country, and even though the church and the government are now two separate instances (since the 21st of May 2012, Christianity (Kristendom) is no longer considered as the main religion in Norway and is now called "den norske kirke" (the Norwegian church) instead of "statskirken" (the church of the state)). 

Even though the two have been separated, we have still kept all the Christian holidays (and "pinse" - Pentecost in English - is one of them. It's also probably the one that people know the least about so I wanted give you a very quick explanation :)

The first day of "pinse" is always celebrated on a Sunday, and the second and last is always on a monday (obviously!). The date vary between the 10th of may and the 13th of July in the western countries. It's always 50 days after Easter (the day "den Hellige Ånd" (the Holy Spirit) supposedly showed itself for Jesus' "apostler" (apostles). This explains the name which comes from the Greek word "pentekoste" meaning "the 50th";) 

The Protestant church (the Norwegian one is Protestant) considers "pinse" as the day Christianity was born. 

 How do you notice "pinse" in everyday life in Norway? 

Well, as "første pinsedag" and "andre pinsedag" (first and second day of Pentecost) are considered as "helligdager" (litterally "holy days"; important religious days where most people can take the day off) most stores close early (at 4 pm at the latest) the day before ("pinseaften"), most people have their day off "første" and "andre pinsedag", Vinmonopolet is closed and there's no commercials on Norwegian based TV and radio channels (yay!). You might also have noticed that the newspapers that come out might be a little bit "lighter" than usual. 

Most people don't celebrate "pinse" in any special way except from a few who go to church. 

Now, I wonder if "pinse" is celebrated where you come from? Do you have any special traditions? How do you notice "pinse" in every day life? Please share your thought in the comment field below :) 

God pinse :)