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Ascension 2024: what is the origin of this Christian holiday ?

ASCENSION. This Thursday, May 9, 2024, Christians celebrate the elevation of Jesus to heaven after his resurrection. What is the origin of this holiday, always celebrated on a Thursday? Why is it celebrated? ? Explanations.

[Mis à day May 9 2024 à 8:00] Ascension Day is a holiday. in France since 1801, a decision taken under Napoleon Bonaparte. This is a national holiday. changing from one year to the next. Its date is in fact fixed; 40 days after Easter Sunday. This is why this year, a rare occurrence on the calendar, the date of the Ascension falls on Thursday, May 9, closely following the public holiday ; of May 8 which celebrates the Victory of 1945. A godsend for many French people who have chosen to bridge the gap in order to enjoy a long weekend of 5 days. non-negligible days. 

In the Christian tradition, Ascension celebrates the ascent of Jesus towards God, his "Father". According to the Bible, forty days after Easter, Jesus died and rose again. would have risen and would have disappeared before the apostles. Jesus resurrected said to the eleven apostles: "Go into all the world. Proclaim the Good News à all of creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved ; he who refuses to believe will be condemned. He would then have sent é the Holy Spirit, hereé ten days later, during Pentecost.

Ascension Thursday is a public holiday in France. The explanation is simple: under the Ancien Régime, Christian festivals punctuated the life of the towns and countryside. Ascension, like Easter, Christmas or the patronal holidays were unemployed in a country still predominantly rural. The French Revolution attempted to – without success – to replace them with new secular celebrations. The Concordat signed in 1801 by Napoleon Bonaparte with Pope Pius VII, re-established four Christian holidays in the calendar: Christmas, the Ascension of Christ, the Assumption of Mary (August 15) and All Saints' Day.

We then speak of "fêtes d'obligation". Despite the separation of Church and State in 1905, these four dates remain unemployed throughout France (the # 39;Alsace and Moselle also celebrate it, while Saint-Etienne on December 26 and Good Friday are not celebrated. (eacute;s only in the three departments of eastern France). Moreover, this day is a national holiday. in many countries such as Germany, Belgium or Switzerland (but not Italy, Spain or the United Kingdom).

Many French people take advantage of the systematic presence of this public holiday Thursday, between April and June each year, to start their weekend two days earlier and thus extend it: this is the Ascension Bridge. It involves taking time off work. on Friday which is supposed to be stay working. Many other holidays can be accompanied by a bridge when the date (and the employer) allows it. But the "Ascension Bridge" seems small à little institutionalization. The majority French administrative services close on Fridays. A closure presented as "exceptional" in the majority of cases, but which has an almost general character.

To find out in particular the list of closed prefectures and sub-prefectures, the State has set up an interactive map of services (available here) for specifying the closing conditions. In town halls, many municipal services will also be unavailable, as will tax centers and CAF services… For all French schoolchildren, including including those attending schools where there is usually class on Saturday morning, it has become a ritual included in the school calendar! 

Until now, National Education gave academies the choice of interrupting classes on Friday and Saturday following the public holiday. laughed. In April 2015, the ministry clarified: that'à From spring 2016, all schools in France would be closed the two days following Ascension Thursday . The 4-day weekend was therefore a success. call à become more widespread from this date. This was a request made for a long time by teachers, parents, but also elected officials and bosses during meetings with the ministry of Education to build school calendars. Students in schools, colleges and high schools ;ees from zones A, B and C will therefore be on leave throughout the year. the Ascension à the end of classes.

With this bridge as with the others, classes have already tended to increase. several years é empty themselves, many parents withdrawing "exceptionally" their offspring from school so they can go away for the weekend. The measure is particularly supported by the tourism sector, which sees the big Ascension weekend as an opportunity to make money. For parents' representatives and teachers alike, blowing up the Ascension Bridge the following Friday is also a way to ease a very busy school calendar. charged in the last term, certain areas, depending on the dates of the Easter holidays and the dates of the exams, may continue until the end of the year. 10 weeks of lessons before the long school holidays. The protection of the bridge for students is therefore good news for many… except for the employees who work despite the pandemic. all Friday and who must find child care.

For Christians, Ascension Thursday has a very specific meaning. the Ascension of Christ, that is to say the moment when I rise to the sky. This event marks the end of his earthly life, 40 days after Easter, that is to say his death. resurrection (passage from death to life following crucifixion). This episode is described in detail. the end of the Gospel according to Luke: Jesus takes his apostles to Bethany, a village in Judah where he liked to withdraw to escape the persecutions of Jerusalem. There he blessed them. "And it came to pass, as he blessed them, that he separated himself from them, and was carried away; to heaven. But they, having bowed down before him, returned to heaven. Jerusalem was in great joy, and they were constantly in the Temple outside. praise God.

Another account of the Ascension opens the Acts of the Apostles. Also written by Luke, it specifies: "You will receive, says Jesus, a power, that of the Holy Spirit who will descend on you . You will then be my witnesses at this time. Jerusalem, and throughout all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. After pronouncing this speech, Jesus would have risen towards the sky before disappearing in a cloud. An angel would then have asked to the apostles not to wait to hear the word of the son of God. For Christians, this episode of the departure of J Beyond terrestrial life is not considered negatively: it is, on the other hand, the beginning of the Church and the "mission" of propagation of the Catholic faith by the apostles.

Ascension 2024: what is the origin of this Christian holiday ?

The 40-day period following Easter corresponds, according to the Bible, to Easter. the period when Jesus is resurrected, has not yet ascended. in heaven and remains on Earth. According to the Acts of the Apostles, Christ "during forty days, appeared to the apostles and spoke to them of the Kingdom of God" says Luc. This is a key period, since it thus demonstrates, according to Christian believers, his resurrection. References & a periodicity of 40 days are numerous in the Bible. The motif appears in the duration of the Christmas flood; or in the retreat of Christ in the desert, corresponding to Lent. The Ascension itself precedes Pentecost by ten days.

In 2024, Ascension Thursday "fall" à the date of May 9. You should know that May 9 is not the date of Ascension every year. This day is movable in the Gregorian calendar. It moves between April 30 and June 3 depending on the year. But whatever happens, Ascension always comes 40 days after Easter Sunday. This is why Ascension always falls on a Thursday.

The date of Ascension changes every year but always coincides with a Thursday, since the Christian holiday é ;quot;fall" always 40 days after Easter. The date of Easter is set according to the Ecclesiastical Comput, that is to say a set of calculations used in the Church. s by the Christian Churches to set the day of certain celebrations. Since the Council of Nicea which was held in the year 325, Easter has taken place on the Sunday following the first full moon following the 21st. March, that is to say between March 22 and April 25. Givené While Easter always takes place on a Sunday, the fortieth day following Easter is always a Thursday. The celebration of the Ascension therefore always takes place on a Thursday located at the end of the day. April 30 and June 3.

Here is the calendar of Ascension dates in the following years:

  • Thursday May 29, 2025
  • Thursday May 14, 2026
  • Thursday May 6, 2027
  • Thursday May 25, 2028
Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116