The feast of the Ascension of the Lord always falls on the fortieth day after Easter. It is a moving bicentennial holiday, which means that its date is always different. Twelfth means that the holiday is one of the twelve Orthodox holidays, which mean a lot to a believer. The Ascension of the Lord in 2020 falls on May 28. After his resurrection, Christ brought his disciples to the Mount of Olives and ascended to heaven. This day could be considered sad, because Christ went to heaven, but he remained among the people, invisible, in every person, he made a promise of the second coming.
What a holiday. Origin history
This ancient triumph appeared no later than the end of the 4th century.
On the fortieth day after his resurrection, Jesus was in the same room with the apostles and told them to bring the gospel to the people. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. Christ promised that soon the Holy Spirit would come down to the disciples and they would be baptized by him, so He asked them not to leave Jerusalem. After that, the Lord led the disciples out of the city to the Mount of Olives. They hoped that Christ would remain on earth and become king in Jerusalem: “Is it not at this time, Lord, that you are restoring the Kingdom of Israel?” And after Jesus began to ascend to heaven, they realized that he would not return to earth in human form and He speaks of the kingdom of heaven. So the Savior ascended into heaven and sat on the right side (right hand) of God the Father.
The apostles stood for a long time on the mountain and looked after Christ. Two angels appeared before them and said: “Men of Galilee! What are you standing and looking at the sky? This Jesus, who has ascended into heaven from you, will come again in the same way as you saw Him, ascending into heaven. ” The disciples were delighted and returned back to the city, and Luke (Lk.24) reports that they had joy and that they were prepared for this. And while in the temple, did not stop praying., With them were their wives and the Blessed Mary the Mother of God. In those same days they chose the twelfth apostle - Matthew, instead of Judas the traitor.
By his own promise, the Lord who ascended to heaven is always present on earth among believers, and will again return in bodily form to judge the living and the dead. An important consequence of this was that from now on, humanity has received full participation in the divine life and eternal bliss. The Ascension of the Lord belongs to all people - on the day of His second coming all will be resurrected.
The festival was established by the apostles and is the most important at the level of Easter and Pentecost.
In the 4th century, the Ascension Temple was erected on the Mount of Olives, but it was destroyed by the Persians. On the mountain, at the place of ascension, remained the columns of the temple. This place is called “Pile”. On the floor of the chapel there is a stone with the imprint of the left foot and it is believed that this is a trace left by Christ during his ascension to heaven. On the eve of the Ascension Day, they spend Vespers here.
Features of the Ascension service
The Ascension of the Lord belongs to the number of mobile church holidays. It lasts ten days: one day of pre-celebration, which coincides with the giving of Easter, and eight days of celebration. Holiday giving takes place next Friday after the 7th week of Easter. Divine services are performed according to the Color Triodium.
Before this day, Wednesday evening, an all-night vigil is served. At vespers there is no kathisma, “God the Lord” is sung on lithium and on the matins the troparion of the feast is sung.
The peculiarity of the Ascension service at the matins is sung: "The Resurrection of Christ is seen." Irmos of the canon serve as the catavasia of the canon of the Ascension of the Lord. Katavasia is a verse that is sung at the end of the song of the canon, because after that, according to the Charter, the singers of both choirs should meet in the middle of the church and sing together.
Other features of the service coincide with other twentieth holidays. If this day is the day of remembrance of the saint or temple feast, then the service is held, as indicated in the Typicon. At the Liturgy, festive antiphons are sung in which they praise the Lord and His ascension.
The decoration of the temple and the clothes of the priests changes from red to white.
Ascension of the Lord among Catholics
In 2020, Catholics will be held on May 21. It also falls on the fortieth day after Easter according to the Catholic calendar. The church service lasts all night, cereals and fruits baked from the dough ladders are brought to the temple, during the Mass the priest blesses. Catholics have a tradition on this day to raise the statue of Christ in heaven so that all who come can see firsthand how it was.
Traditions and rites. What can not be done
The tradition of conducting various rites and rituals came to us from our same ancestors.
There was an opinion among the people that everything that you could not ask for that day, everything would come true. This was due to the fact that on the day of the ascension, the Lord was still on earth, he listened to people, helped them and fulfilled their desires. People believed that conspiracies and prayers could help loved ones from the evil eye and make life better.
On Wednesday evening, a ritual of “giving” is held in the church. People come to the temple and pray, they bring cakes with green onions, light them. Part of the pies remains in the church, part of it is necessary to treat the beggars who come to the house.
In the evening, a bonfire must be made to arrange a round dance. Women bake bread in the form of a ladder, so that it would be easier for the Lord to ascend to heaven, attribute them to stubble, this must be done secretly, so that the harvest is good.
Rites that can be performed at this time:
- Rite with eggs for a good harvest
Girls get together, take pies and raw eggs with them and go to the field. They make a fire there and cook fried eggs on it. They ate it with spoons and threw them up; the higher the spoon flew up, the higher the ears of rye would be.
- If the magpies heard a crack, then until she was silent she said the words: “She hovered over the forests and fields of forty, collected jewels and goods, but she did not collect them in a nest, but brought them to me. Full of barns of grain, full of barns of good. May it be so!
This rite attracts luck and happiness.
- Rite of pain. Someone from the family lays a hand on the ground and says: “As light is the mother earth, how high is her strength, so I can easily with her, my body will get drunk with strength. May it be so!"
- To go to visit relatives and friends and bring ladders to them, in the old days this rite was called “going to a crossroads”.
- That egg, which was first laid by the chicken that day, was considered sacred and could protect the house from various troubles. He was carried upstairs to the attic and left there as a guard against evil spirits.
- Be sure to do good deeds, help those in need.
- Unmarried girls wove small twigs of birch in their braids, and if they don't fade until the next morning, then be married this year.
- The rite of baptism of the cuckoo. It was conducted by girls for a good harvest and the conception of a healthy child. From grass (cuckoo's tears) a cuckoo figurine was made, dressed up in clothes and planted on a tree. Girls kiss, exchange scarves, crosses, eat eggs. After two or three days, the girls hold the cuckoo’s funeral, bury it in the ground or simply leave it on a branch. After that they arrange dances, sing songs.
On Ascension, it is forbidden to do any work, to clean the house, to engage in land. You can’t cook food, so the hostesses prepare all the treats for this day in advance. On such a joyful day, you cannot be sad, spoil the mood of others, do not start conflicts. On such a day, the deceased are not buried, requiem services are not performed. In no case should you litter, throw garbage on the ground, so as not to incur trouble.
According to popular tradition, the night before the celebration is called the nightingale, because they sing very loudly. Therefore, if you catch the nightingale, then next year will be unsuccessful, there will be many adversities.
Signs of the Orthodox
As on any great church holiday in antiquity, people had a lot to accept for marriage, for luck, for the weather.
- If it rains that day, then you should not wait for a rich harvest, the cattle will hurt. But if after the ascension it rains for several days in a row, then perhaps everything will go away not so badly;
- Usually, chickens do not lay eggs for such an event, if all the same it happened, then this is a great success, you must definitely take it to the attic and leave it to protect the house.
- If the weather is hot, the crop will be rich, there will be a lot of health;
- If fasting is observed on the Friday preceding Ascension, this will protect against drowning.
In order for the holiday to go well, you must prepare delicious food in advance. In the morning, visit the temple, say a prayer and light candles. Dress in clean, bright clothes that symbolize the end of spring - the beginning of summer. It’s good if the mood is festive, joyful, good at heart. After the temple, having come home, cover the festive table, put refreshments, gather all your loved ones. You can drink a little that day, but you can’t drink heavily, the Orthodox are not welcome. A mandatory attribute of the table are pancakes, you can bake them in advance in the evening, you can also put ladders, pies with green onions. Do not curse that day, make scandals, do not get angry. Everyone around should be happy. Do not spoil everyone’s mood, you need to have fun and relax. This will help to honor and show God and Christ how grateful they are for giving you and your loved ones.
You can cook pies with various fillings, cottage cheese and meat. Pancakes, cakes are baked, meat dishes are baked. Oatmeal cookies are also prepared. It is advisable to consecrate all food in the temple, part can be left in the church, some part can be given to vagrants.