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Ascension Day

Ascension Day 2017 and 2018

The people of Luxembourg observe Ascension Day 39 days after Easter Sunday. It is considered a Christian holiday and commemorates the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven. The actual date of the holiday changes from year to year, but typically occurs in May and always falls on a Thursday in Luxembourg, unlike the United States, which typically observes this holiday on the following Sunday.

YearDateDayHoliday
201725 MayThuAscension Day
201810 MayThuAscension Day

History

During the 40-day period prior to Jesus ascending to heaven, it is thought that he intermingled and preached to disciples and apostles. According to tradition, this holiday originated in 68 AD; however, it was not written about until the first Ascension Day feast occurred, which took place in 385 AD.

 

Today, mostly Anglicans and Catholics recognise Ascension Day in Luxembourg. According to the methods of calculating the date of Easter, used by Western Christianity, the earliest potential date for this to occur is on April 30th, with the latest potential date being June 3rd.

There are many symbols seen on Ascension Day in Luxembourg, which symbolise Christ’s arrival in heaven. In many cases, you see Jesus’s image chasing a “devil” in the streets, or dunking it into a pond, or even burning it in effigy. This is symbolic of the triumph of the Messiah over the devil when he opened heaven to all who believed.

Activities in Luxembourg on Ascension Day

There are several ways that the people of Luxembourg observe Ascension Day. Some of the traditional events occurring in Luxembourg on this day include:

  • The putting out of the Paschal, or Easter, candle.
  • Processions with banners and torches.
  • Vegetables and fruits blessed in church.

In most cases, you can also attend massive feasts on this day in Luxembourg. Some of these take place in churches, and others are community-wide events.

What to Expect on Ascension Day

Since Ascension Day always occurs on a Thursday, many people who observe this holiday make the occasion a long weekend. The Friday in between Ascension Day and the weekend is usually quiet, especially in offices and shops since many of them remain closed.

Ascension Day is considered a public holiday and many churches offer special services on this day. Since the day is a public holiday in Luxembourg, all banks, schools, government offices, and most businesses remain closed from Thursday, until the following Monday. In some cases, public transportation systems run on the weekend, but it is best to check before betting on this mode of transportation.

Ten days after Ascension Day is Whitsuntide or Pentecost. This commemorates the arrival of the Holy Spirit to Jesus’s disciples. Pentecost marks the end of the Easter cycle according to the Christian calendar.

Ascension Day is not observed by everyone in Luxembourg; however, since the population is made up of a majority of Christian people, it is observed by many. If you are in the area on this day, it is wise to have everything you need ahead of time since all government offices and most businesses remain closed for the four day period.