Today is Also Holy Thursday, the Day of Ascension Skip to content

Today is Also Holy Thursday, the Day of Ascension

The Day of Ascension 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 school and most work places are closed.

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

The Bible says Jesus overcame death with his resurrection at Easter and spent 40 days with his apostles before ascending to heaven, not to abandon the earth, but to be present everywhere.

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

It is very rare that Labor Day and the Day of Ascension fall upon the same day; it only happens when Easter Sunday is on March 23, like this year, which occurs approximately once every 100 years, as astronomer Thorsteinn Saemundsson told

In practice it means that Icelanders are deprived of one holiday this year.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get news from Iceland, photos, and in-depth stories delivered to your inbox every week!

* indicates required

Subscribe to Iceland Review

In-depth stories and high-quality photography showcasing life in Iceland!

Share article