Ascension day is the 40th day of Easter and commemorates the ascension of Jesus into heaven 39 days after resurrection on Easter Sunday.
You will find the Biblical accounts of the Ascension in Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:6-11.
During the forty-day period before he ascended into heaven, it is believed that Jesus preached and intermingled with his apostles and disciples.
According to tradition, Ascension Day was first celebrated in 68 AD, however the first written evidence of the Ascension Day feast occurred in 385 AD.
Today, Ascension Day is celebrated primarily by Catholics and Anglicans. According to Western Christianity methods of calculating the dates of Easter, the earliest possible date for Ascension Day is April 30, the latest possible date is June 3.
Ascension Day celebrations include the following:
The Easter (Paschal) candle is put out.
There may be processions with torches and banners and fruits and vegetables may be blessed in church.
Did you know?
Germany also celebrates Father's Day (Vatertag) on the same date. This tradition dates back to the eighteenth century when prizes were awarded to fathers after Ascension Day parades in rural areas.
In Colombia, as with other Christian holidays, Ascension Day is celebrated on the Monday after the actual date.
An old English tradition is that if it is sunny on Ascension Day, it will be a warm summer; but if it rains, it will a poor harvest and livestock will suffer from disease.
In Sweden people go into the woods very early in the morning to hear the birds at sunrise. It is said to be good luck if a cuckoo is heard from the east or west.