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Ascension Day in United Kingdom

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

Jesus statue
Ascension Day marks Jesus Christ's ascension into heaven, according to Christian belief.
Ascension Day marks Jesus Christ's ascension into heaven, according to Christian belief.
©iStockphoto.com/Sebastien Cote

What Do People Do?

Some Christians in the United Kingdom attend church services on Ascension Day to celebrate this event. Prayers are made and people sing hymns at these services. Communion, also known as Eucharist, may also be offered to the congregation. Ascension Day marks the end of Rogationtide, which is a time when people pray for blessings to occur.

According to some sources, some schools used to have a day off on Ascension Day in the United Kingdom. However, students who attend Sunday school or take part in religious studies (such as classes) may participate in lessons or activities that explain the meaning of Ascension Day.

Public Life

Ascension Day is neither a bank or public holiday in the United Kingdom. Offices, retail stores, educational institutions and public transit systems stick with their usual schedules.


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, some churches may choose to 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 2015

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ascension Day 2016

Thursday, May 5, 2016



Ascension Day

List of dates for other years

Other holidays in May 2016 in United Kingdom

United Nation Holiday on May 14, 2016

Fun Holiday on May 14, 2016

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