Thursday, May 25, 2006

Ascension Day


Ascension, by Giotto, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Today is Ascension Day, a public holiday, here in Protestant Holland, not so in Catholic Italy (they celebrate Maria's ascension in the middle of August).

Jesus's ascension to the heaven is recorded in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, when it says that 40 days after his Resurrection, The Savuiour was taken up to heaven by a cloud.

There do not seem to be too many traditions associated with Ascension Day, unlike Easter or Christmas, but in the East of Holland, we find the tradition of Dauwtrappen, walking on the dew. The idea is to go out early, before dawn and walk on the grass, presumably wet with dew (or today with rain), with bare feet. This dates back to some old fertility rite. Nowadays, this tradition has changed into becoming an excuse for a trip into the country, sometimes on foot, sometimes on bike and even in a convoy of Fiat 500's. Thinking of carrying on this tradition by going for a cycle ride when teh weather clears up this afternoon.

Further, Ascension Day, or Hemelvaart, is now a day when everyone can go to their local Ikea or Garden Centre and go shopping!

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