Ascension is observed next on Thursday, May 18th, 2023 (105 days from today).
Ascension Day is commemorated in the United States on the 40th day of Easter to commemorate Jesus Christ's ascension into heaven, according to the New Testament of the Bible.
We commemorate the ascension of Jesus Christ (according to Christian beliefs) by celebrating the Day of Ascension, which occurs 39 days after Easter. Known by many names - Ascension, Ascension of Jesus, Ascension Thursday, Holy Thursday, or Solemnity of the Ascension - this is a Christian holiday that doubles as a public holiday in many countries like Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, etc.
History of Ascension Day
Being one of the earliest Christian festivals, Ascension Day is considered as the marking of the end of the Easter season. The event is organized mainly by Catholics and Anglicans; most Protestant churches don't follow this tradition anymore. Dates also vary in different geographical locations. The Western Churches prefer to use the Gregorian calendar to calculate this date, while many Eastern Orthodox Churches calculate this date according to the Julian calendar. Therefore, their celebration takes place later than that of the West.
According to the biblical New Testament, after Jesus Christ was crucified on Good Friday, he rose from the dead in three days, on what we call Easter Sunday. For the next 40 days, he stayed with his Apostles (the main disciples of Jesus Christ) to instruct them on how to carry out his teachings. As the Bible indicates, at the end of the 40th day, Jesus Christ and his disciples went to the Mount of Olives (or Mount of Olives), near Jerusalem. After asking them to stay, Jesus Christ ascended to heaven and sat at the right hand of God, under the eyes of his disciples. For Christians, the ascension signifies that Christ has completed his work on Earth and allows him to prepare a place for his followers in heaven.
Originally part of Easter, the date was later separated from Easter, along with Pentecost. The celebration of Pentecost ends the cycle of Easter-related events in the Christian calendar.
Ascension Day celebrations include processions symbolizing Christ's entry into heaven and, in some countries, casting an "evil" through the streets and drowning it in a pond or burning it into an effigy - symbolizes the Messiah's victory over the devil as He opens the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
The liturgical color in many churches is white on Ascension Day. Symbols include the ascended Christ, the bird flying home, the gate opening, the lion conquering the dragon, Elijah's fiery chariot, and a broken chain.
Some truths about Ascension Day
- In Sweden, people usually walk in the early morning
Many people go to the forest at 3am or 4am to hear the birdsong at sunrise, believing that hearing the cuckoo's cuckoo from the east or west will bring them good luck - this activity is called is 'gökotta.'
- Britons celebrate by 'smashing willows'
Once upon a time, when boys were chased after parish boundaries, they were beaten with willow branches to ward off evil spirits.
- Welsh people is day-off on this day
It's not just a celebration in Wales - Welsh people believe it is bad luck to do any work on Ascension Day.
- Portugal celebrates by keeping wheat in their house
In tradition, keeping wheat in their house is a great way of rural Portuguese households. It is associated with peace and prosperity and for them, wheat symbolizes prosperity.
- Ascension Day is a public holiday in Indonesia
Although Christianity is a minor religion in Indonesia, Ascension Day is chosen as a public holiday.
Why Ascension Day is important
- It is an opportunity to reflect and achieve inner peace
Cases where we can simply sit reflect and learn the true meaning of peace, are rare in our busy world. This is why we recommend holding such opportunities with both hands. The Ascension Day church service center revolves around this theme. If you are not a religious or church person, just take a moment to sit by yourself and reflect on your journey so far and how you would like to continue. There is no better way to celebrate this day than by focusing on yourself and your thoughts.
- We learn about Christian traditions
Expanding knowledge is good for us. In addition, learning about the Ascension Day not only helps us to expand our common stock of knowledge, but also inspires us to observe a number of traditions.
- It helps us broaden our cultural horizons
Such traditions have been popular for a long time and are of varying degrees of importance around the world. Even festivals vary according to the customs of a given region. Learning more about these traditions will change our view of cultures and give us an expanded knowledge of people from other countries.
How to celebrate Ascension Day
- Go to church
Find out how your local church celebrates this day. Take some time to attend a mass or service at a Christian church. Please clarify the details before you go, as these services vary depending on whether the church is Protestant or Catholic.
- Attend church processions
Tradition says the holiday is celebrated with a three-day procession followed by the main ceremony, which includes a procession of torches and banners to symbolize Jesus' journey to Mount O. Liu and go to heaven. While your local church may not have such large celebrations, find out if they still conduct a procession.
- Listen to hymns
Listening to hymns is also an interesting tradition of Ascension Day. A symphony of these religious songs can keep you humming for days. Even famous artists have been known to hum a hymn or two over the years. Watch Carrie Underwood's 'Something in the Water' or U2's 'Where the Streets Have No Name' or even John Legend's 'Preach'.
ObservedAscension has been observed 39 days after Easter.
Thursday, May 13th, 2021
Thursday, May 26th, 2022
Thursday, May 18th, 2023
Thursday, May 9th, 2024
Thursday, May 29th, 2025