Ascension Thursday: what is celebrated on this holiday?

It’s the start of the Ascension weekend. Ascension Thursday is a date that delights many French people every year, as many of them enjoy a long weekend.

As Ascension is always on a Thursday, it is common to see many people take advantage of a long weekend by taking a day off or an RTT on Friday. In addition, since 2015, the Ministry of National Education systematically free on Fridays in schools, so that the students benefit from an extended weekend. This is the only ” bridge » systematic school calendar.

  • What do Christians celebrate?

Located between Easter and Pentecost, the Ascension is a Christian holiday celebrating, according to the texts, the day when Jesus Christ left his disciples to join his Father in Heaven. It commemorates the ascent of Jesus Christ to heaven 40 days after his resurrection. The name of this celebration comes from the Latin “ascensio”, which means “to climb towards”. For Christians, this date symbolizes eternal life.

The feast of the#Ascension tells us that Jesus ascended into Heaven to remain glorious at the right hand of the Father, and, at the same time, He is still and always among us: this is where our strength, our perseverance and our joy come from.

— Pope Francis (@Pontifex_fr) May 24, 2020

  • Why does it always fall on a Thursday?

As stated earlier, the Ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven took place 40 days after his resurrection. Although the date changes each year, Ascension is always on a Thursday, since it always takes place on the 40th day after Easter Sunday, the day of Christ’s Resurrection.

  • Why and since when is it a public holiday?

In France, Ascension Day became a non-working day during the Ancien Régime, when the predominantly rural country lived to the rhythm of Christian festivals. During the French Revolution, secular celebrations replaced the Christian holidays of Christmas, Ascension, umption and All Saints Day, but these were reinstated in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte under the Concordat signed with Pope Pius VII.

Despite the separation of Church and State in 1905, Ascension remained a public holiday, along with Christmas, the umption and All Saints.

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