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Ascension Day

Holiday observed in several European Countries. Always falls on a Thursday.

Ascension Day
Copyright: Igor Zhuravlov / 123rf

When is Ascension Day?
Year Date
2016 May 05
2015 May 14
2014 May 29
2013 May 09
2012 May 17
Who observes Ascension Day?
Austria Austria Belgium Belgium
Denmark Denmark Finland Finland
France France Germany Germany
Iceland Iceland Indonesia Indonesia
Luxembourg Luxembourg Netherlands Netherlands
Norway Norway Sweden Sweden
Switzerland Switzerland

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.

Ten days after Ascension Day is Pentecost (Whitsuntide) which commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples. Pentecost ends the cycle of Easter related events in the Christian Calendar.

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.

Ascension Day around the world

Colombia Colombia

In Colombia, as with other Christian holidays, Ascension Day is celebrated on the Monday after the actual date.

England England

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.

Sweden Sweden

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.


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