Ascension Day in France in 2025

  How long until Ascension Day?
Ascension Day
  Dates of Ascension Day in France
2025 France Thu, May 29 Public Holiday
2024 France Thu, May 9 Public Holiday
2023 France Thu, May 18 Public Holiday
2022 France Thu, May 26 Public Holiday
2021 France Thu, May 13 Public Holiday

This day observes the departure of Jesus from earth after his resurrection. It is perhaps the earliest observed celebration in Christianity.

  Local name
Jour de l'Ascension
  Ascension Day in other countries
Ascension Day internationally

When is Ascension Day?

Ascension Day is the 40th day of Easter and commemorates the ascension of Jesus into heaven 39 days after resurrection on Easter Sunday. It may also be known as The Feast of the Ascension, The Ascension of Jesus, Ascension Thursday or Holy Thursday.

What is Ascension Day?

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 Anglican Christians. According to the 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.

How is Ascension Day celebrated?

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.

In the Catholic Church, the Feast of Ascension is a holy day of obligation (sometimes called holydays) when the faithful are obliged to attend Mass.

Feast of the Ascension and Easter

Ten days after Ascension 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 customs

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.

Traditions of Ascension in France

Ascension Day has been a public holiday in France since Napoleon Bonaparte agreed to it in 1801.

Before the French Revolution, Christian festivals punctuated the life of cities and the countryside. The French Revolution unsuccessfully tried to replace the festivals with new secular celebrations. The Concordat signed in 1801 by Napoleon Bonaparte with Pope Pius VII, reinstated four Christian holidays in the calendar: Christmas, Ascension, the Assumption of Mary and All Saints' Day. Despite the separation of Church and State in 1905, these four dates remain non-working throughout France.

Many French people take advantage of this holiday Thursday, between April and June each year, to start their weekend two days earlier and thus extend it: it is known as the Ascension Bridge. Many other holidays can be bridged when the date (and the employer) permits. But the "Ascension Bridge" seems to be gradually becoming institutionalised. The majority of French administrative services close on Fridays. In town halls, many municipal services will also be unavailable. It has become a ritual in the school calendar for all French schoolchildren, including those attending schools where there is usually class on Saturday morning. In April 2015, the ministry specified that from the spring of 2016, all schools in France would be closed for the two days following Ascension Thursday.

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