Today is Holy Thursday, Ascension Day

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Today is Holy Thursday, Ascension Day

By Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir
Church at Úlfljótsvatn

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Ascension Day is a Christian holiday celebrated 40 days after Easter to commemorate Jesus’ bodily ascension to heaven in the presence of his apostles.

Some Icelanders go to church; others relax at home or take part in outdoor recreation. Children are given the day off from school and most workplaces are closed.

According to kirkjan.is, Ascension Day is one of the oldest Christian holidays and marks the beginning of Pentecost or Whitsun. It has been celebrated since 400 AD.

It is an old church tradition to light a special candle at Easter and put it out after mass on Ascension Day to symbolize Christ leaving Earth.

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