The ascension of Christ is a mobile twelve-day holiday, tied to the great feast of Easter. To correctly calculate the date of the event that marked the beginning of the Christian feast of The ascension of the Lord, it is necessary to count 40 days from the Bright Resurrection. The holiday always falls on a Thursday. In 2021, the feast of The ascension of the Lord is celebrated on June 10.
Prehistory of the holiday
The events leading up to the feast Of the Ascension of Christ were described by the Evangelist Luke in the Acts of the Holy apostles, CH.1, V. 9-11. After his miraculous resurrection, Jesus was still on earth for 40 days. On Bright Sunday, two companions met Him on the road and did not immediately recognize Him. And as they went into the village, Jesus explained to them the essence of the Holy Scriptures, beginning with Moses. But the companions did not yet know that it was Jesus. When they came to the village, they invited him into the house. At first Jesus wanted to go further, but the people persuaded him to stay. Jesus took the bread, broke it with a blessing, and then the companions recognized their mentor and Savior, and when they recognized him, they were confused.
They returned to Jerusalem at the same hour and told the apostles about the meeting. At the moment when they were talking about the fact that Jesus really rose, He appeared between them, which greatly confused everyone present. He asked the apostles to remain in the city of Jerusalem until He sent them the promise of the Lord God the father and they were clothed with ” power from on high.”
In the third Chapter of Acts, we are told that starting from the Resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples for 40 days and talked with them. And only on the 40th day did he ascend to heaven in front of his disciples.
His companions, who were standing on mount Eleon, represented at that time the first Church in the name of Christ. And as they looked up to heaven, where Christ had ascended, two angels appeared and announced that Jesus would appear just as he had ascended, that is, from heaven. This news gave the students hope. The feast of the ascension is celebrated on the 40th day from Easter Bright Sunday.
The tradition of the Church
The celebration of the ascension of Christ was established at the second Ecumenical Council, although followers of Christ celebrated this day earlier, from the first years of His ascension. On the day of the ascension of Christ, the Orthodox Church recalls the events that happened to Jesus after his execution and resurrection, when his body disappeared from the tomb. Jesus was with the disciples for 40 days.
Festive Church services begin on Wednesday the day before with hymns, in which the singers tell about the Ascent of Jesus Christ to heaven and about his meeting with the Angels. During the evening service, old Testament passages are read, which communicate prophecies for the coming of the Savior. At Matins, canons dedicated to the feast are read and written in the VIII and IX centuries.
Baked ladders were an essential attribute of the holiday in the villages. The ladders had 7 rungs according to the number of heavens according to the Revelations of John. These ladders were consecrated in the Church, and then the fortune-tellers went up to the bell tower and threw the ladders from there. The essence of divination was how the ladders fell. If it remained intact, then the believer could expect to go to heaven. If it was completely broken, then he is a great sinner, and the road to hell is prepared for him. If several steps remained intact, he would be on that heavenly level, respectively.
On the eve of the holiday, the village Housewives baked pies with young onions, or pancakes, called God’s okutka. They went to visit with ladders baked on honey and decorated with patterns, or received guests themselves. They held folk festivals. Girls interweaved birch twigs, and if the twigs did not wither until Trinity (10 days) then they were waiting for a quick, successful marriage.
It was impossible to refuse alms. People said that Jesus went to Ascension in the guise of a beggar. You can not show anger, swear, quarrel on this Holy day.
The ascension day was considered the last day of spring. Night on the eve of the ascension was called the Nightingale. It was believed that on this day nightingales sing more loudly, seeing off spring. “Spring with the Ascension to heaven goes up”, “to bloom the spring before the ascension,” said the peasants. After ascension, the summer peasant days began in the field, on the farmstead, which lasted until late autumn.
On this day, healers prepared herbs, believing that the grass collected on this day has greater healing power. The girls washed their faces in the morning dew, because it was believed that these were the tears of the earth for the ascended Christ. Such dew gives a person health and beauty.
Now that you know what date the Ascension of the Lord will take place in 2021, you will have plenty of time to properly prepare for it. The holiday should be spent with bright thoughts. If you consider yourself a Christian, visit the Church and take part in the festive service. Buy small gifts and distribute them to the poor. A kind word of gratitude for alms will have a positive effect on your life.