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Ascension Day in Germany

Ascension Day is a public holiday in Germany to mark the Jesus' ascension to heaven. It is the 40th day of Easter (or 39 days after Easter Sunday). It is also known as Father's Day or Men's Day in some areas of Germany.

Ascension Day marks Jesu ascension to heaven, according to Christian belief.
Ascension Day marks Jesu ascension to heaven, according to Christian belief.
©iStockphoto.com/Marcus Lindström

What Do People Do?

Christians attend special church services on Ascension Day to celebrate Jesus' ascension into heaven. In some rural Catholic areas, a procession (Oeschprozession, Flurprozession) of religious banners is held in the fields around the villages. Four different Bible texts are read at four 'stations' during these processions.

The International Charlemagne Prize is presented in the city of Aachen on Ascension Day. It is presented to someone who made a valuable contribution to humanity and world peace, particularly in the field of western European understanding and community. It is named after Charlemagne (Charles the Great), who was the king of the Franks from 768 CE until 814 CE. Aachen was his capital city and he put a lot of effort to establish peace between warring tribes in and around his kingdom.

Ascension Day is also known as Father's Day (Vatertag) or Men's Day (Maennertag, Herrentag) in some parts of Germany. Groups of male friends or male relatives spend a day together. They often take part in an outdoor activity, such as a walk in the country or a horse-and-cart ride. Afterwards, they have a communal meal.

Public Life

Ascension Day is a public holiday in all German states. Post offices, banks, stores and other businesses are closed. However, some tourist stores may be open and stores at railway stations, airports and along highways are usually open. There are some restrictions on selling alcohol, public performances and dancing. Public transport services may run as usual, a reduced service or no service depending on where one lives or wants to travel.


Ascension Day is an important holiday for many Christians, especially Catholics. It has been a public holiday in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1936. It was a public holiday in the German Democratic Republic from 1950 until 1966 and in 1990, when Germany was united.

Ascension Day also celebrated in other countries such as Canada, the Netherlands and the United States.

About Ascension Day in other countries

Read more about Ascension Day.

Ascension Day Observances

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

Quick Facts

Ascension Day in Germany is on a Thursday 39 days after Easter Sunday.

Ascension Day 2016

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ascension Day 2017

Thursday, May 25, 2017


Name in other languages

Christi HimmelfahrtGerman
Ascension DayEnglish
Kristi HimmelfartsdagNorwegian

Alternative name


List of dates for other years

Other holidays in May 2016 in Germany

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