Thursday, June 2, 2011

Commentary on Ascension Day Observance


My dear reader, for any of you that are procrastinators (like yours truly), and never got around to sending Easter cards to those near (and not so dear) to you that honor the day, fear not; it's not too late for you to send a card to express your thoughts (and hopefully you will choose ones from the selections in the store-front of my web-site for such purposes) because we are still in the Easter Season, and will be until Sunday, June 12th, 2011, when the Feast of Pentecost will close the Easter Season. Meanwhile, today is Ascension Day, one of the feasts of the Easter Season. The observance of Ascension Day dates back to the latter part of the fourth century.


It commemorates Jesus's ascension into heaven, which is identified as one of the "glorious mysteries", and this event has been the subject of many celebrated paintings including a work of Rembrandt's completed in 1636 titled, The Ascension, which can be seen in the screen shot above this blog post (further information relating to this image can be found by clicking here).

The celebration of The Ascension is ecumenical;, therefore, it is a well known feast day, and it has always occurred forty days after Easter, which means it always falls on a Thursday. However, for a number of years now, Canadian Catholics, have celebrated The Ascension on the Seventh Sunday of Easter. Additionally, a number of dioceses in the United States have opted to roll Ascension Day over from its "traditional Thursday" to the Seventh Sunday of Easter. This move is not unlike what has happened to The Feast of the Epiphany, a day that historically was celebrated on January 6th (also known as the Twelfth Day of Christmas), but has been moved to the first Sunday after Christmas, which means if Christmas falls on a Saturday,The Feast of the Epiphany is the day after Christmas! As you may recall, dear reader, the moving of the Epiphany celebration is something I wrote about towards the onset of 2011, and if you would like to refer to what I said, please click here as well as here and here.

The moving of religious celebrations and national holidays is not uncommon (I just addressed this issue a few days ago when I blogged about the moving of Memorial Day from May 30th to the last Monday in May), but the question remains if moving observances for the sake of convenience will make folks lose respect for the initial intent of the given day. 

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