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Ascension Day

Ascension Day 2017 and 2018

Ascension Day is an official public holiday in Denmark, marking the Ascension of Christ to Heaven 40 days after His Resurrection.

YearDateDayHoliday
201725 MayThuAscension Day
201810 MayThuAscension Day

Ascension is traditionally celebrated, however, 39 days after Easter Sunday on a Thursday. Known as “Kristi Himmelfartsdag” in Denmark, Ascension Day is the official end of the Easter season, comes 10 days before Pentecost, and normally occurs sometime in the month of May.

Ascension Day ranks among the oldest of all Christian holidays, with evidence suggesting it was celebrated by some as early as A.D. 68. The Biblical account of Christ’s Ascension immediately follows the giving of the Great Commission to His watching disciples. He ascended from the Mount of Olives and promised that that would also be the place where He would someday return to set up His Kingdom on the earth. Once in Heaven, He sat down at the right hand of the Father, where His Heavenly reign as the risen Christ began.

In Denmark, churches will hold special services on Ascension Day, and there will sometimes be torch-lit processions around the church building to represent Jesus’ entrance into Heaven. Fruits and vegetables will also be “blessed,” and some hold the belief that a sunny Ascension Day indicates a hot, lengthy summer, while a rainy Ascension Day will bring crop failure in the year ahead.

To most Danes, Ascension Day is simply one of their many paid off-work days and a chance to take off the following Friday as well to create an extra-long weekend. Danes usually get nine paid holidays in addition to five weeks of vacation time each year. Unless you worked enough during the preceding year, however, you will not be get paid for time off on Ascension Day, though you are still entitled to take the day off if you wish.

Activities

Those visiting Denmark during Ascension Day may wish to consider putting any of the following activities on their itineraries:

  • If you love soccer, be sure to attend the Danish Cup Final, which takes place on Ascension Day every year. It is played in Parken, the national stadium of Denmark in Copenhagen. If you can’t attend in person, you should have no trouble finding the match on TV.
  • Tour Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city. It was founded by vikings around 1,200 years ago and has two 13th-Century churches, Aarhus Cathedral and the Church of Our Lady, from the early years after Denmark converted to Christianity. The town also has numerous museums, including the Market Town Museum, which showcases typical Danish town arrangements from the 1500’s on, and ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, an art gallery with a huge collection from the 1700’s up to modern times.
  • Take the kids to Billund, in central Denmark, where you will find Legoland, a theme park built out of gigantic Legos. There are replicas of famous structures and landmarks from all over Denmark and beyond built out of giant Lego bricks, besides castles, an arctic zone, a city, scenes from the American Old West, and a pirate combat zone all made of Legos. Legoland is the biggest tourist draw in Denmark that is not in Copenhagen, and nearby, you will find Lego HQ and the factory where 90 percent of the world’s Legos are made.

Ascension Day is a religious holiday but is mostly used to get out and go on short vacations. Tourists to Denmark can do the same, besides attending special Ascension Day services.