About Ascension Day
When is Ascension Day?
Ascension Day is the 40th day of Easter and commemorates the ascension of Jesus into heaven 39 days after the 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.
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.