Ascension Day is the day when Christians around the world celebrate the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven in the fourth decade AD.
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It is a moveable holiday and depends on when Easter occurs. Ascension Day is celebrated on a Thursday, 40 days after Easter Sunday because, before his ascension, Jesus spent 40 days with his disciples after he rose from death.
Around the world, many countries consider Ascension Day as a holy day, but many don’t take a public holiday on this day. Here in France, as well as in several other European countries, it is a public holiday and shops, banks, post offices and schools are closed. Museums are often open but check if you’re thinking of visiting.
In France on this day, Christians usually attend church services before enjoying a Spring day off. For some, the traditional food on Ascension Day is poultry but, across France, the seasonal fair is the spring foods: young lamb, asparagus, avocado and romaine salad, new-potato salad, mushroom soups, apricots, figs and citrus. And how many of the French would not have a chocolate and hazelnut crepe, or mint sorbet to finish their public holiday meals?
If the weather is fine, people take their lunches to the parks in their towns or cities. There are other events like bike tours across the countryside and sporting events, and some villages hold their own local, cultural festivals.
Although shops are closed on this day, many cafes and restaurants open for a few hours. The boulangeries might open for just long enough to pick up a croissant and coffee, and some restaurants might open in the evening for dinner.