France - Ascension Day

Ascension Day

This year: Friday, May 17, 2019

May 17

The Ascension Day is a religious feast that celebrates the salvation of Christ after his death and his rebirth. It is one of the most important holidays in Catholic tradition. Ascension Day and Easter are the most significant events in the Catholic Church year. This day marks the wonder manifested by God, when Christ, rose to the heavens. According to the legend, it happened on the Olive Mountain, not far away from Vefania. The exact date of day of celebration is shifting from year to year and always falls on the fortieth day after the Easter.

The earliest documental records of this celebration are dated fifth century. Still, some facts prove that this tradition first appeared long before that time. For example, iconographic representation of this important event was described in the Acts of the Apostles. Moreover, it is also described in the diptyches and on the fresco images of the fifth century.

The Ascension Day plays a vital role in celebrating the Roman liturgy. It is also related to a number of very significant and noteworthy festivals. That is the reason why it is always celebrated by the vespers public worship.

Some special ceremonies and religious rites are connected with this festival. They include benediction of beans and grapes during the Mass, extinguishing the Easter candle, solemn processions - these are the essential rituals of Ascension Day.

Some Roman Catholic churches have invented an interesting way of visual representation of Our Lord's Ascension to the heavens. In order to make people understand this event and get inspired by it they place the statue of the Christ up to the very ceiling of the temple. This action is accompanied by certain motets and various ceremonies.

Everything is done to make people have a better understanding of Christ's life and the religious meaning of his death through crucifixion. So every person coming to the temple or church on this day should light up a candle in order to show that the light of God is burning in him/her too.

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