Whitsunday, or Pentecost, is the seventh Sunday after Easter. For Christians, this commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit in tongues of flame upon the apostles. Because the disciples were said to have begun baptizing thousands of people soon afterward, Whitsunday or Pentecost became the traditional time for baptisms. Whit, a corruption of white, refers to the white baptismal garments worn on this day. It is also a time of spring festivals throughout Europe, with echoes of pagan spring rites such as morris dancing and dressing a young boy in greenery (Jack-in-the-Green) and marching him through the village.
1786: An advertisement in a NYC newspaper by a Mr. Hull of 76 Chatham Street announced that he would start manufacturing ice cream on a commercial basis. It was the first known U.S. ad for commercial ice cream.
Born 1810: Robert Schumann (composer)
Died 1845: Andrew Jackson (7th U.S. president)
Born 1867: Frank Lloyd Wright (architect)
Born 1925: Barbara Bush (U.S. First Lady)
Born 1927: Jerry Stiller (actor)
Born 1933: Joan Rivers (comedian)
Born 1937: Bruce McCandless II (astronaut)
1940: The bald eagle was placed under federal protection as an endangered species in the U.S.
Born 1957: Scott Adams (cartoonist, creator of Dilbert)
Born 1966: Julianna Margulies (actress)
1968: James Earl Ray, alleged assassin of MLK, Jr., is arrested by Scotland Yard detectives at Heathrow Airport in London
Born 1969: David Sutcliffe (actor)
1969: The New York Yankees retired the No. 7 uniform of baseball player Mickey Mantle
Died 1982: Leroy "Satchel" Paige (baseball player)
1984: U.S. release of movie Ghostbusters
2004: For the first time in 121.5 years, the Sun was "partially eclipsed" by the planet Venus (Transit of Venus)