Whitsunday Island was named by Captain James Cook, who first glimpsed them 49 days after Easter in 1770, on the Christian holiday of Whitsunday or Pentecost
from Greek pentecostē, “50th day” which the 50th day after Easter.
(White Sunday) Whitsunday or Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit onto the disciples, after the death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus Christ (Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2), and it marks the beginning of the Christian church’s mission to the world.
When the festival was first celebrated in the Christian church is not known, but it was mentioned in a work from the Eastern church, the Epistola Apostolorum, in the 2nd century. In the 3rd century it was mentioned by Origen, theologian and head of the catechetical school in Alexandria, and by Tertullian, Christian priest and writer of Carthage.