Jesus was last seen after Easter, on the 40th day. It was on this day that he visited his disciples and said he would always be with them and promised the gift of the Holy Spirit.
During their trip to the Mount of Olives, the disciples witnessed him ascend to heaven. The day is known as Ascension Day or Holy Thursday, as it always falls on this day of the week.
Let’s dive into the amazing facts about Ascension Day!
4 Fascinating Facts About Ascension Day
It began on Good Friday, when Jesus was crucified on a cross and then buried in a tomb. He rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. After this, he visited different people, including his disciples, for the next forty days before ascending to heaven. Ten days after Ascension Day, the disciples were visited by the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, on Pentecost Day.
Read on to learn a few facts about Ascension Day.
1. Ascension Day is an important date in the Christian Church
Ascension Day is a significant date in the Christian calendar. Christians, all over, celebrate Jesus’ reign as king on this day. Gold and white flowers are used at church services. Additionally, church services are held on the following Sunday, the traditional rest day.
Worldwide, many cultures and religious denominations celebrate this day. It is typically observed on the first Sunday in May. It is a time to reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made for us. Believers remember that Jesus chose to become their leader and savior. His victory over death is hugely celebrated.
2. Some countries observe Ascension Day as a public holiday
Countries like France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Indonesia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Vanuatu have Ascension Day as a public holiday and schools are closed. This day is not a public holiday in the U.K., Canada, U.S., or Australia.
In Sweden, many people go out into the woods as early as 3:00 AM to hear the birds at sunrise, believing that hearing a cuckoo from the east or west brings them good luck.
Portugal’s old tradition of preserving wheat in the house for the coming year, manifests itself more on Ascension Day. They celebrate by keeping wheat in their houses, as the day is associated with peace and prosperity and, to them, wheat symbolizes prosperity.
3. How Ascension Day is Commemorated
Listening to hymns is a traditional part of Ascension Day celebrations. These religious songs can have you humming along for days. Even well-known artists have been known to hum a hymn or more over the years.
Tradition dictates the observation of this day by a three-day procession, then the feast itself, which includes a procession of torches and banners to symbolize Christ’s journey to the Mount of Olives and rise into heaven.
You can also earn how your local church celebrates this day. Purpose to attend a Mass or Christian church service. Ensure you get the details right, as these services differ based on whether the church is Protestant or Catholic.
4. Ascension Day has a Significant Impact
Ascension Day church services center around the theme of reflection and gaining inner peace. If you are not a church goer, observe this day by having a personal moment to reflect on your Christian journey. Centering yourself and your thoughts is a perfect way to celebrate this day.
Learning about Ascension Day helps expand your general knowledge, but also inspire the need to observe cultural traditions. Such traditions have been prevalent for years, and have taken on varying degrees of importance across the globe. Knowing much about these traditions changes your views of cultures and gives substantial knowledge of other nations.
Ascension Day is one of the earliest Christian festivals, which marks the end of the Easter season. To Christians, the ascension signifies the time Christ completed his work on Earth and the preparation of a better place for his followers.
This event is primarily celebrated by Catholics and Anglican Christians. The date varies in different geographic locations. Western Churches prefer to use the Gregorian calendar to identify the date, while many Eastern Orthodox Churches use the Julian calendar to determine the date.
This day is important for Christians, ranking right up there with other Christian festivals like Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost.