There are many good things about the US’s written constitution: there’s the right of everyone to walk about with bare arms no matter what the weather, but even more important there’s no state religion.  This past weekend was Pentecost: Whitsun if you’re British, Pfingsten if you’re German and Pinsen if you are Norwegian.  In England Whitsun is a bank holiday as well as a Church of England thing and though tradition dictates that it will rain the entire weekend, everybody takes off.  If it weren’t C. of E. — weren’t an event in the calendar of the state religion — but were Roman or Orthodox, Muslim or Jewish, it would be known as a ‘religious’ holiday, though that term works on the opposite principle of ‘bank holiday’.  Whereas bank holidays are holidays for banks and the banks therefore close,  religious holidays (holy days) are intended to be holidays from everything but religion, so everything else closes and the mosques, or whatever, stay open.

(Update: Picky has pointed out that Britain nowadays separates Pentecost and the first holiday of the summer. See his comment below the photographs and, below that, Des von Bladet tells you  the Dutch word for Whitsun.)

Norway has a state religion; it’s a Lutheran country and although not many people go to church, people respect weekends like this past one and things go a bit quiet.  Our neighbour, normally a  slow-moving man, was racing to be finished mowing his grass before 5 p.m. when the church bells start ringing, even though I know for a fact he’s an atheist.  

Here are some pictures of what we were doing.  Some of us were indoors working on an art project of my wife’s:

mirror

Others walked around in the woods …

Vesla1

looking at the trees and …

Vesla2smelling the air …

Vesla3Some slept and occasionally barked:

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tops3

While others de-barked

holly1

holly2

holly3

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