Ascension Day is a Christian holiday that commemorates Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven. It is celebrated 40 days from Easter and it is a public holiday in some countries in Europe. This day is also known as Holy Thursday, Ascension Thursday or the Feast of the Ascension of Jesus Christ.

YearWestern DateEastern Date
201930. May 2019 07. Jun 2019
202021. May 2020 29. May 2020
202113. May 2021 11. Jun 2021
202226. May 2022 03. Jun 2022
202318. May 2023 26. May 2023

This day is also known as Holy Thursday, Ascension Thursday or the Feast of the Ascension of Jesus Christ. According to the belief, the Christ ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

The Feast of the Ascension is celebrated 40 days of Easter and falls always on Thursday. Orthodox churches have different dates of course, while most Protestant churches have abandoned the observance of this holiday.

Government offices, schools, banks, and many businesses are usually closed in countries where this holiday is a public holiday.

Churches around the world have observed Ascension Day Feasts for centuries, including ceremonies and traditions including processions, prayer vigils, and Catholic masses. According to one of the early church fathers, Augustine of Hippo, the Feast of Ascension originated with the Apostles.

It may be one of the oldest feasts practiced by the Church, possibly going as far back as AD 68. There is no written evidence, however, of the church honoring Ascension Day until Augustine’s time in the fourth century.

Ascension Day Customs in Europe

In Netherland, a very popular custom is to go “Dauwtrappen”. This means getting up before dawn and go for a walk or a bike tour.

In England and Scotland there is a tradition that says if its sunny on this day, it will be a warm summer – if it rains, it will be a poor harvest and livestock will suffer from a disease.

In Belgium, the Procession of the Holy Blood takes place on Ascension Day. Prior to the procession, citizens in carts or on horseback perform stories from the Old Testament, talking about the life of Jesus Christ.

In Sweden, people go into the woods in the morning to head the birds at sunrise. It is said to be good luck if a cuckoo bird is heard from the east or west.

In Germany, it is also a Father’s Day and the traditional way that Germans like to honor is to drink a lot of beer.

In France, some Christians may attend special church services, but for most people, this is a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends or simply to enjoy the spring weather.

In Norway, people traditionally spend this day outdoors or in the garden. It is common to take the following Friday off too, creating a long weekend.

Ascension Day in European Languages

Christi Himmelfahrt
Onze Lieve Heer hemelvaart
Christi Himmelfahrt
Himmelfartsdag
Kristi Himmelfartsdagur
Ascension
Uppstigningardagur
Auffahrt
Christi Himmelfaart
Hemelvaartsdag
Kristi himmelfartsdag
Kristi himmelsfärds dag