The Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center is an open-air folklife museum and research center dedicated to preserving and celebrating Pennsylvania German folk culture, history, and language in a unique educational setting at Kutztown University.

Category: Eastertime Traditions

Himmelfahrt – Ascension Day: Avoidance of Sewing, Binding & Working

40 days after Easter, the Pennsylvania Dutch celebrate Himmelfahrt (Ascension Day). Although years ago shops would close throughout the Dutch Country, and most everyone took the day off for religious observation, today only the Plain Communities, the Old Order Mennonites and Amish, continue this tradition. In the Christian liturgical calendar, this day commemorates the story of Christ’s ascension into heaven, witnessed by his disciples, to whom he gave the “great commission,” instructions to spread the word of the miracles they witnessed. For this reason, Himmelfahrt was considered to be one of the holiest days of the year, aside from Good Friday (Karfreidaag), and folk cultural beliefs and traditions abounded on this particular day.