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Ascension Day in Canada

Ascension Day is observed in Canada on the 40th day of Easter. It commemorates Jesus Christ's ascension into heaven, according to the New Testament of the Bible.

Jesus in the clouds
Statue of Jesus, who Christians believe ascended to heaven.
Statue of Jesus, who Christians believe ascended to heaven.
©iStockphoto.com/Allan Brown

What Do People Do?

Some Christians in Canada attend Ascension Day church services where they can receive communion, also known as the Eucharist, engage in prayer and sing hymns. Various churches, including the Roman Catholic Church and the United Church of Canada, observe this event. Children who attend Sunday school may learn about the meaning of Ascension Day around this time of the year.

Public Life

Ascension Day is not a federal public holiday in Canada. Offices, retail stores, educational institutions and public transit systems run to their usual schedules.

Background

Ascension Day is one of the earliest Christian festivals dating back to the year 68 CE. According to the New Testament in the Bible, Jesus Christ met several times with his disciples during the 40 days after his resurrection to instruct them on how to carry out his teachings. It is believed that on the 40th day he took them to the Mount of Olives, where they watched as he ascended to heaven.

Ascension Day marks the end of the Easter season and occurs ten days before Pentecost. Depending upon the phases of the Moon in a particular year, Ascension Day is usually celebrated on a Thursday. However, it has been reported that some Roman Catholic churches in Canada celebrate it on the following Sunday.

Many Eastern Orthodox churches calculate the date of Pascha (Easter) according to the Julian calendar, rather than the Gregorian calendar used by many western churches, so their Ascension Day usually occurs after the western observance.

About Ascension Day in other countries

Read more about Ascension Day.

Ascension Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
ThuMay 132010Ascension DayChristian 
ThuJun 22011Ascension DayChristian 
ThuMay 172012Ascension DayChristian 
ThuMay 92013Ascension DayChristian 
ThuMay 292014Ascension DayChristian 
ThuMay 142015Ascension DayChristian 
ThuMay 52016Ascension DayChristian 
ThuMay 252017Ascension DayChristian 
ThuMay 102018Ascension DayChristian 
ThuMay 302019Ascension DayChristian 
ThuMay 212020Ascension DayChristian 

Quick Facts

Ascension Day is the 40th day of Easter and commemorates Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven, according to Christian belief.

Ascension Day 2016

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ascension Day 2017

Thursday, May 25, 2017

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Name in other languages

NameLanguage
Ascension DayEnglish
L'AscensionFrench
Christi HimmelfahrtGerman

List of dates for other years

Other holidays in May 2016 in Canada

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