What is Ascension Day, how It Is Celebrated: The Feast of the Ascension of Jesus Christ, is also known as Ascension Day, Ascension Thursday, or sometimes Holy Thursday, that honors the Christian belief of the bodily Ascension of Jesus into heaven.
Ascension Day also marks the moment Jesus literally ascended into heaven before his disciples, at the village of Bethany, near Jerusalem.
What is Ascension Day?
It is one of the ecumenical (i.e., universally celebrated) feasts of Christian churches, placing with the feasts of the Passion, of Easter, and Pentecost. By tradition, Ascension Day is celebrated on Thursday, the fortieth day of Easter, even though some Christian denominations have moved the observance to the next Sunday.
“After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight,” the book says.
“They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven’.”
When is Ascension Day This Year?
Ascension Day is celebrated all across the branches of Christianity on the sixth Thursday after Easter, precisely forty days after Easter Sunday.
On the other hand, for the reason that the Eastern Orthodox Church uses the older Julian calendar in spite of the modern Gregorian calendar in order to calculate the date, Orthodox Christians are going to celebrate Ascension Day a week later than their Catholic and Protestant counterparts.
This year in 2019, the Ascension Day is going to be celebrated on May 30 (Western) as well as June 6 (Eastern).
How Ascension Day is Celebrated?
Ascension Day is not such a main event in most Protestant parishes, but talking about the Catholic Church the Feast of the Ascension is one of the Holy Days of Obligation, denotation that devotees are obliged to be present at Mass.
Ascension Thursday also honors and celebrates the Holy Georgian Martyrs of Persia (17th–18th centuries).
Traditionally, the day was marked with a march with torches and banners. The tradition persists “in some sections of Germany and central Europe”, says Catholic Culture, where, “preceded by candles and cross, the faithful walk with prayer and song through fields and pastures, and the priest blesses each lot of ground”.
Ascension has an Afterfeast of eight days. The Sunday after Ascension is the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council at Nicaea. This council expressed the Nicene Creed up to the words, “He (Jesus) ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and shall come again, with glory, to judge the living and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.”
The Afterfeast concludes on the next Friday, the Friday before Pentecost. The next day is appropriately a Saturday of the Dead.
The church readings for the period from Ascension Day to Pentecost emphasis on devotion to disperse Christ’s word and hope for eternal salvation at the Second Coming.