What is Ascension Day?
Ascension Day is a Christian holiday commemorating Jesus Christ’s ascension to heaven from Earth in the presence of his eleven apostles. According to Christian belief, Jesus ascended to heaven on the 40th day of Easter Sunday, which is also the 40th day after his resurrection. Many people also know the day as the Feast of the Ascension.
According to history, Christians celebrated the first Ascension Day in 68 A.D. But in the written evidence, the Feast of the Ascension dates back to 385 A.D. Currently, mostly Catholics and Anglican Christians celebrate Ascension Day with a 40-day feast after Easter Sunday.
Ascension Day - All Quick Overview
- Category: Religious
- Where It’s Marked: Globally
- Why It’s Marked: Ascension Day marks the departure of Jesus Christ from Earth to heaven.
History Of Ascension Day
Ascension Day is one of the earliest Christian festivals that started in 68 A.D. According to the Gregorian calendar, it also marks the end of the Easter season. Although, some Orthodox churches use the Julian calendar to calculate the date of Easter, resulting in the event being celebrated later than the Western churches.
Before the 4th century celebration of Ascension Day, the day marked the celebration of the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The day's history dates back to when Jesus was resurrected from the dead three days after his crucifixion on Good Friday. This day is now known as Eastern Sunday.
According to the Bible's New Testament, Jesus Christ spent most of his time in those 40 days with his primary disciples to acquaint them with how to carry on his teachings.
In these 40 days, he taught his apostles everything he knew and how people should follow it. Then, on the last day, he led his eleven primary disciples to the Mount of Olives in Bethany's village. Jesus then instructed his disciples to remain in Jerusalem until the descent of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ’s apostles watched him as he descended to heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. Christians believe that Jesus ascended to heaven because his work on Earth was complete, so God made a place for him in heaven. Thus, the day signified this holy event and came into practice around 385 A.D.
How to Celebrate Ascension Day
Each year, on the 40th day of Easter, Christians worldwide celebrate Ascension Day. In some countries like Austria, Denmark, France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and more, it is a public holiday, and all the businesses, offices, and educational institutions, ., remain closed. Usually, workers take this opportunity to enjoy a lovely long weekend.
In Indonesia, Ascension Day is a public holiday despite Christianity being a minority religion. The churches hold several special services and rituals throughout the day.
The rural people of Portugal make olive branch bouquets with poppies, daisies, and wheat sticks. They often keep wheat in their house yearly to bring good luck. All these materials symbolize abundant harvest, good fortune, peace, and prosperity.
In Sweden, people venture out into the woods between 3 am to 4 am to hear birds chirping at sunrise. They believe hearing a cuckoo from the west or east side will bring good luck. This tradition is called “gökotta.”
On Ascension Day in the United States, the Amish go on fishing trips with family and friends, and the Italians bring fresh grapes to churches for blessings. Various water festivals and activities take place in England during the event. It ranges from the Derbyshire Well Dressing to the Whitby Planting of the “Penny Hedge” in a small town in Yorkshire called Whitby
In Catholic churches, a large feast is believed to be a holy day of obligation, and the people with faith are requested to attend Mass. Torches and banners hang in the churches maintaining the old traditions, and various fruits and vegetables are served to the visitors.
Countries that Observe Ascension Day
Christians all over the world celebrate Ascension Day annually.
Interesting Facts about Ascension Day
Many interesting facts and beliefs are regulated around Ascension Day. We have listed some facts for you to learn more about the day.
- People believe it will be a long, hot summer if it is sunny on Ascension Day.
- There’s a belief that rain on Ascension Day can result in an insufficient amount of crops and diseased livestock.
- In England, some people believe that if they put laid eggs of that day on the roof, it will bring good luck, and the eggs will never rot.
- According to Welsh superstition, you are not supposed to do any work on Ascension Day because it is unlucky.
- Ascension Day occurs before ten days of Pentecost.
- Ascension Day always takes place on Thursday.
- Holy Thursday or Ascension Thursday are some of the other names for the event.
- Ascension Day is not a federal public holiday in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.
Unique Ascension Day Celebration Ideas
Ascension Day is an important day marking the holy ascent of Jesus to heaven. If you want to celebrate it, here are four unique ideas for you.
1. Go to your local church
Churches celebrate the day in various ways, maintaining different traditions. Get information about the churches first, then attend a Mass or join a Christian service. Sometimes you will also be able to enjoy a great feast if it is open for everyone.
2. Listen to hymns
Listen to different religious hymns on Ascension Day. The melodies can give you a relaxing feel, and you might also be humming them for a long time. You can even search for hymns by famous artists like John Legend, Carrie Underwood, and U2.
3. Pray at home
If you don't want to go out on this day, praying and giving yourself time at the pleasure of your own home is fine. Ask for forgiveness and blessings from the Holy Spirit, and enjoy the day relaxing with your family.
4. Take a long weekend
Take a break from your busy schedule if you have a public holiday on Ascension Day. Plan a trip with your family and friends. You can also hike to the nearest mountain or through a forest.
Ascension Day Quotes
Spread the celebration of Ascension Day with your close ones using some of our quotes or wishes.
“Although the ascension of our Lord has separated him from us, his blessings will always shine upon those who are pure and faithful.”
“Even in death, the lord has designed a better world to live in. So on this Ascension Day, let his faithful devotees continue the process of salvation.”
“Ascension Day is nothing but the lord’s way of showing his devotees the process of gaining clarity amidst the darkness of this world.”
1. Why is Ascension Day on the 40th day of Easter?
According to tradition, people believe Jesus spent 40 days with his apostles to teach them his principles, and then he ascended to heaven after his work was complete.
2. What do you eat on Ascension Day?
There are many customs of eating a bird on this day because it represents Jesus flying to heaven.
3. Why is Ascension Day always on a Thursday?
Ascension Day is always on a Thursday because Easter takes place on Sunday. Moreover, Thursday is known to be Holy Thursday.
Ascension Day Observances
|2021||Thursday||13 May||Ascension Day|
|2022||Thursday||26 May||Ascension Day|
|2023||Thursday||18 May||Ascension Day|
|2024||Thursday||09 May||Ascension Day|
|2025||Thursday||29 May||Ascension Day|
|2026||Thursday||14 May||Ascension Day|
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