Today is Ascension Day, one of the earliest Christian festivals, dating back to the year 68. It marks the end of the Easter season and is celebrated on a Thursday, 40 days after Easter Sunday because, according to Christian beliefs, Jesus spent 40 days with his disciples after he rose from death before he ascended to heaven.

There was a time when Ascension Day was a public holiday in South Africa, but this fell away when the number of public holidays were rationalised to twelve – although the Public Holidays Act (Act No 36 of 1994) determines that whenever a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following on it shall be a public holiday!

The windows shown above are in the chapel of the Diocesan School for Girls in Grahamstown.

With it no longer being a public holiday, everyone has to go to work as usual in this country. I was interested to read, though, that according to Welsh superstition, it is unlucky to do any work on Ascension Day!


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