Ascension Day is a holiday in Senegal to commemorate Jesus Christ’s ascension to heaven as recorded in the Bible. It is observed on the fortieth day of Easter – 39 days after Easter Sunday – and always fall on a Thursday.
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Ascension Day is among many Christian holidays officially celebrated in Senegal despite the fact that the country is 95 percent Muslim. This curious situation is a result of the fact that Senegal was once a French colonial possession.
On the fortieth day after Easter, which varies year to year but normally occurs sometime in May, the people take off Ascension Thursday. Many Muslims will observe the holiday as well, just as Christians in Senegal celebrate Muslim holidays. Despite differing beliefs, both groups may invite each other over for dinner or send special foods to be delivered to the door of their neighbours.
Many Christians will attend a special church event on Ascension Day and then head out to public or family events for the rest of the day.