Ascension Day is a holiday in Sint Maarten 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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Sint Maarten is the Dutch half of a Caribbean island shared with the French-speaking “Saint Martin”. Ascension Day is celebrated on both sides of the island and as a part of the greater Easter Season. In Sint Maarten, Carnival follows Easter, and thus comes between Easter and Ascension Day 40 days after Easter Sunday. Pentecost Sunday and Monday then follow ten days later.
Mostly Catholics celebrate Ascension Day in Sint Maarten by attending special church services. But everyone enjoys having the extra day off. As the holiday comes on a Thursday each year, it’s not uncommon to see people taking Friday off too.
Family feasts and fun, swimming at the local beach, and visiting museums that tell of the island’s complex history and diverse cultural influences are typical Ascension Day activities.