What is Ascension Day again?
Tomorrow is Ascension Day (Hemelvaartsdag). On this holiday we are (almost all) free, and we're very happy with that! But we sometimes forget the meaning of this day. That's why we will explain it to you!
We know that Jesus rose from the dead on Easter. On Ascension Day he is taken up by the earth. He tells his followers that the Holy Spirit will come soon to help them. The disciples see Jesus go up into the sky and he disappears in a cloud. Then two men in white garments appeared and said that Jesus would return in the same way he had left.
Each year we celebrate Ascension Day on a Thursday. There are always 40 days between Easter and Ascension Day. Easter is always on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring. In 2016, it fell on May 5, so it was also Liberation Day. That doesn't happen very often.
There aren't any typical things we do on this day, like egg hunting on Easter. Some people still go to a church service. Sometimes people go 'dauwtrappen', then they get up early and go on a hike or bike ride in a group. It is so early that the dew can still be seen. And there are markets in some places.
In the Middle Ages, priests held vigils the night before Ascension Day.
Ten days after Ascension Day is Pentecost (Pinksteren). We'll remind you of the meaning of that holiday too: it's the celebration of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And now try to remember it!