Interesting Facts About Ascension Day: The “Holy Thursday”

Ascension Day is a Christian holiday to commemorate the day that Jesus Christ ascended into heaven. It is officially celebrated on the 39th day after Easter Sunday, which is a Thursday and is the 40th day of Easter (following the accounts given in Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, Acts 1:2).
In 2017, Ascension Day falls on May 25th (dates in other years). In some parts of the world, the feast is transferred to the Sunday after the traditional date.
Forty Days after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Acts of the Apostles records Jesus’ ascension into heaven. The ascension is an important Christian holiday that attests to the reality of Jesus Christ, God and human, returning to the Father, to return again in the future second coming. The Ascension is the final component of the paschal mystery, which consists also of Jesus’ Crucifixion (and related components like his suffering and death) and Resurrection.
Ascension is the day that Jesus returned to heaven, following his crucifixion and resurrection. Although some countries choose to celebrate Ascension Day on the following Sunday, it is traditionally the 6th Thursday following Easter.
Ascension Day is also referred to as Ascension Feast and is believed to have originated in the 4th century AD. It is believed that on Ascension Day, Jesus was taken up to heaven where he sat at the right hand of God.
Here are some interesting facts about Ascension Day:
1. For many Christians, Ascension Day’s meaning provides a sense of hope that the glorious and triumphant return of Christ is near. It is a reminder of the Kingdom of God within their hearts, and of the ever-present Spirit of God, watching over and protecting them as they spread the light of Jesus’ truth throughout the world.
2. Churches around the world observe many Ascension Day traditions, such as “the blessing of the first fruits,” in which grapes and beans are blessed. Some churches depict the Ascension of Christ by raising a statue of Jesus above the altar and lifting it through a special door in the roof. Other churches have outdoor processions with torches and banners.
In an old Ascension Day tradition from England, parishioners carried a banner bearing the symbol of a lion at the head of the procession, and a second banner bearing the symbol of a dragon at the rear. This represented the victory of Christ over the devil.
3. It is believed that after Jesus’ resurrection, he spent the next 40 days teaching his disciples how to continue his teachings. On Ascension Day Jesus took his disciples to the Mount of Olives, where they watched him ascend to heaven.
4. On Ascension Day in England the belief is that eggs laid that day will never rot and they will provide good luck if put on the roof.
5. Some countries celebrate Ascension Day (Thursday) as a public holiday, which results in many workers taking a long weekend from work. Ascension Day is a public holiday in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Vanuatu.
6. On Ascension Day in 1503 an island was discovered in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. It is a volcanic island named because of the day it was discovered.

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