Pentecost – Pfingsten

Pfingsten or Pentecost from ancient Greek: Πεντηκοστή is the the Fiftieth day after Easter Sunday. It is one of the prominent feasts in the Christian liturgical year commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Christ after the Resurrection.

A nowadays seldomly observed pagan custom is the “Pfingsochse”. Pfingsten marks the first day the cattle was driven to the range. Usually this would be celebrated with a procession though the town where the strongest bull was decorated with flowers. Hence the saying “decorated like Pentecost Bull” – “geschmückt wie ein Pfingsochse”.
This bull or another animal was slaughtered for the following Pfingstcelebrations.
Jokingly one also refers to the one who sleeps the longest on Pfingssunday as “Pfingstochse”.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
(aus: Reineke Fuchs)

Pfingsten, das liebliche Fest…
Pfingsten, das liebliche Fest, war gekommen; es
grünten und blühten
Feld und Wald; auf Hügeln und Höhn, in Büschen
und Hecken
Übten ein fröhliches Lied die neuermunterten Vögel;
Jede Wiese sprosste von Blumen in duftenden
Festlich heiter glänzte der Himmel und farbig die