Ascension Day is a very significant day in Christianity. It is also a public holiday in a large number of countries, but how it is actually celebrated differs in several respects. In Sweden, it has a long history that in many ways also connects with pre-Christian times.
Here is some information about the day of Christ's ascension and what characterizes it in our modern times.
Christian and at the same time pre-Christian
Ascension Day is a Christian holiday that aims to mark the day when Jesus left earthly life for heaven. It always takes place on the 40th day after Easter. As this is always a Thursday, the day has sometimes been referred to as Holy Thursday.
How it is celebrated varies greatly depending on the extent to which a country has become secularized. The more traditional celebration of the ascension of Christ includes a service and a visit to the cemetery where loved ones are.
What gives it a special position in Sweden in particular is that Ascension Day also coincides with the day when farmers release the cows on pasture. Therefore, the day is historically also known as the day of grazing release / cow release. This means that culturally it also has an anchorage in the peasant society whose history is in many ways older than the history of Christianity in Sweden.
Holiday that few actually celebrate
In many cases, Ascension Day coincides with Sweden's National Day in such a way that together they form a particularly long weekend. Therefore, Ascension Day sometimes becomes part of Sweden's longest weekend period.
Despite its status as a public holiday, it is relatively unusual in Sweden to celebrate Ascension Day. It is still mainly the Christians and believers who to some extent pay attention to the day. But the celebration has increased, and many predict that it will soon be a bigger phenomenon than it has been before.