Today is Ascension Day and a public holiday in many countries around the world. In the Nordic region people have today off work and school.
Ascension is celebrated on the 40th day after Easter Day, and always on a Thursday. It is one of the great feasts of the traditional Christian calendar.
Ascension Day celebrates the ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven after his resurrection back to the Earth at Easter. The term ‘ascension’ is used to emphasise that he did not die, as on the cross on Good Friday; but rather rose to heaven of his own free will — most certainly not dead.
The Nordic countries generally observe religious holidays more closely than many other European nations; although the Christian faith is not necessarily stronger in the region than elsewhere in Europe.
Today is seen by many as a bonus mid-week ‘weekend’ to be enjoyed to the full. A lot of people also take the Friday off as holiday to make a four-day-long weekend.