Pentecost can be a tricky season to bring into the home. There isn’t a Pentecost aisle at Michaels — they’re on to 4th of July over there. Poor Pentecost is just one of those funny seasons. It’s huge! It’s important! But it doesn’t scream “perfect theme for my front door wreath!”
This year I’ve taken up the challenge of observing Pentecost at home, and my inspiration is pretty basic: the Liturgy. At my church we celebrate Pentecost with bright and brilliant reds, in everything from the vestments to the flower arrangements to the baby’s onesie.
With that in mind, I gathered up some of my red items around the house (don’t forget the box of Christmas decorations when it comes to this!) and will use simple things like red candle holders or red ribbons to herald the season.
Other well known themes of Pentecost include fire and flame as well as doves, all symbols of the Holy Spirit. The kids and I decided to make a fun banner of doves out of water color paper to hang in our window as our ‘pentecost décor.’
This project was really easy. We got a large piece of watercolor paper, taped it firmly to a board (you could also just tape it to the table) got the whole paper wet, and then dropped dollops of water color onto the sheet. The result, once dry, was a bright and beautiful rainbow of colors.
We made a simple drawing of a dove shape and then cut several doves out of the paper, and on each dove, we wrote the words ‘love’, ‘peace,’ and ‘hope’ in different languages. The concept behind this is that The Holy Spirit came down and gave the Apostles the ability to spread The Good News in languages from around the world.
The kids enjoyed looking up these words in any language Google Translate would give us (Greek! Hawaiian! Norwegian!) and it was a little mini lesson in language as well as an art project.
A hole punch in each dove and a piece of thread tied to the window later, and our doves were flying free and spreading the gospel in all the tongues we could think of.
Of course, you don’t have to make the doves out of watercolor paper. You could use construction paper or even regular typing paper. The point of the project is to have fun and let the kids’ artistic sides shine. If children can remember a fun project or activity that goes along with the holiday, they are more likely to recall what it was they were celebrating.
As fun as these little art and decorating projects are, the simplest way to bring the season into the home is simply to talk about it. And while there’s not too many Pentecost themed books out there for children, many Children’s Bibles or Bible Story Treasuries will feature a section on Pentecost — like our copy of “Tomie DePaola’s Book of Bible Stories.”
Because traditions are something that grow over time, celebrating Pentecost can be something you slowly build in your family culture. And because it’s not massively commercialized, you’re free to make it whatever you’d like it to be in your home. The possibilities are endless, and it is a great opportunity to connect Ordinary Time to the seasons of Advent, Lent and Easter, and show our kids how lovely and meaningful the liturgical year can be.
How do you celebrate Pentecost at home?