If you are of the Catholic faith, you've celebrated this festival probably all your life. As a matter of fact, it was a Catholic friend of mine who mentioned this to me, and I said, hm....what?
So I figured I better check this out.
Ten days after ascension, (Ascension Day marks the last appearance of Jesus to the disciples after his resurrection at Easter.)
50 days after the resurrection, the Spirit came. "
I am interested all ready. Being a 'spiritual' person by nature, I strive to be "Christianly" spiritual by choice. I know Christ is my path, my only true path. So when I read the Holy Spirit came to the early followers in the form of flames on the head....?....I'm curious.
'And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit' (Acts 2:3-4).
So....first the fire appeared to them as cloven tongues, then it sat upon them, then they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Here's a little elaboration, this found at:http://www.orthodox.net/gleanings/pentecost.html,
They partook of fire, not of burning but of saving fire; of fire which consumes the thorns of sins, but gives luster to the soul.
This is now coming upon you also, and that to strip away and consume your sins which are like thorns, and to brighten yet more that precious possession of your souls, and to give you grace; for He gave it then to the Apostles.
And He sat upon them in the form of fiery tongues, that they might crown themselves with new and spiritual diadems by fiery tongues upon their heads. A fiery sword barred of old the gates of Paradise; a fiery tongue which brought salvation restored the gift. St.Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 17 no. 15)
Saint Symeon says that this mode of acting of the Holy Spirit - by means of a loud noise as of a rushing mighty wind, and with tongues of fire - was something unique. The Holy Spirit, he observes, comes very calmly, in the form of spiritual light, and evokes joy.
The power of the Holy Spirit, which is bestowed upon him who loves God and keeps His commandments, does not appear visibly in the form of fire, nor does it come with a loud sound like a violent wind - for this happened only in the time of the Apostles for the sake of the unbelievers.
Instead, it is seen spiritually in the form of spiritual light, and comes with all calm and joy. Guide to Byzantine Iconography, Vol. 1, by Constantine Cavarnos (Also found at http://www.orthodox.net/gleanings/pentecost.html)
What a great day to commemorate, the birth of the Church as we know it, it says on the day of Pentecost the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4), and the apostle Peter preached his first sermon, urging the crowds to repent, to believe in Jesus Christ as their Messiah and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (verse 38). That very day of Pentecost some 3,000 people were baptized and became the people of God (verse 41). The church had been born.
In my search to my pondering regarding Pentecost I found a great resource, Lecture XVII.Continuation of the Discourse on the Holy Ghost. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf207.ii.xxi.html