The Feast of the Ascension of our Lord is celebrated 40 days after Pascha. The feast commemorates the account of Christ ascending into heaven 40 days after His Resurrection.
The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Acts 1-3 & 9-11
‘The Ascension of Christ shows the last stage in God’s plan for mankind: total union with Himself upon one’s departure from the world. According to V. Rev. George Florovsky, “in the Ascension resides the meaning and the fullness of Christ’s Resurrection….and with Christ, man’s nature ascends also.”‘ -Orthodoxwiki
Traditions on the Feast of the Ascension
I couldn’t find any special Orthodox traditions for this feast day, but while I was googling I found an odd one on a Catholic website. Apparently some people eat various kinds of birds “because Jesus “flew” to heaven.” It makes more sense to me that we would honor winged creatures in some way today, so I looked for animal sanctuaries that rescue farmed chickens or turkeys.
Even though the world record for longest chicken flight is only 13 seconds, I’ve decided this year I’m going to make an $18 donation to Animal Place Sanctuary, which the video above says will pay for one bag of feed for one day for the many chickens the sanctuary has rescued.
There are quite a few other farm sanctuaries in the United States. Check this list from Vegan.com to Find a Sanctuary in Your Area. You could also plan a visit or volunteer day and get to know the animals.
However you celebrate today, Blessed Feast!