Ascension Day in the Netherlands marks Jesus’ final ascension to heaven following his crucifixion and resurrection. It is the 40th day of Easter and is always on a Thursday. This year, Ascension day is on May 10.
What do people do?
Some devoted Christians make a special effort to attend a church service on Ascension Day. For others, it is just a day off work to enjoy an early morning walk, go for a bike ride in the spring weather or carry out household maintenance.
In the Netherlands, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Queen’s Day, Liberation Day, Ascension Day, Pentecost and the Second day of Pentecost fall close together in late April or early May. Many schools have holidays for two to three weeks around this time, so the Ascension Day period is a popular time for people to take some of their annual leave and go on a short break or longer vacation.
Ascension Day is legally considered to be equivalent to a Sunday and many people do not have to work. Post offices, banks and many businesses and stores are closed. Some stores, particularly those at train and bus stations, airports and areas that attract a lot of tourists, remain open. Most of the shops in bigger cities will also be open. There are some restrictions on the sale of alcohol on Ascension Day. Public transport services run a reduced service and there may be no services in rural areas.
Traditionally on Ascension Day, people would go into the fields just before sunrise. They then walked or danced barefoot in the dew (dauwtrappen). On this day, the dew was supposed to have special healing and purifying properties. Now, particularly in the northern and eastern portions of the Netherlands, some people go out early to walk or cycle in the natural surroundings. Marching bands perform early in the morning in some villages in the southern parts of the Netherlands.
Source: Time and Day
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