Today is Ascension Day: Nordic nations take holiday

hallgrmskirkja_2Today is Ascension Day, the 40th day of Easter, when the Bible says Jesus ascended to heaven to sit at the right-hand of God.

The day is always celebrated on a Thursday and is a public holiday in many countries, including Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

On this day, schools and offices are shut and visitors may find restrictions to shop, restaurant and travel services too.

In Sweden many people go out to the woods at 3am or 4am to hear the birds at sunrise. It is good luck if a cuckoo is heard from the east or west. These jaunts are called gokotta, or “early cuckoo morning”.

For the most part people will use today to relax and enjoy themselves. Some may choose to go to special church services.

Tomorrow will also be a very quiet day as many workers choose to make a long weekend by taking the day off. Transport, schools, shops and restaurants will be fully open though.

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