When I were a lad, in long socks and short trousers, I attended the village school. This was a Church School where the local Rector was a significant member of staff. One of the advantages of going to a church school was that we “scholars” would get a ½day holiday on Ascension Day after attending a Church Service to which we were taken in crocodile formation for the ¾mile walk from the school to the church. Six groups of 30-50 children each, progressing from school to church in line took a lot of marshalling and caused lots of disruption, but this was a long time ago. After the service we were free for the rest of the day! No crocodile back to the school just 240 or so kids released into the environment. Think St Trinians (Google that if you need) but with a co-ed rather than a single sex school. The holiday was not popular amongst parents/guardians as that day there were no school dinners and unless an adult was at home the latch-key kids had extra time to mess up the home.
In the run up to Easter many families will have pancakes on “Pancake Day” and the supermarkets certainly push the sale of lemons and pancake mixtures for that, and many people “give up something for the 40 day Lenten fast”: this may be just not eating chocolate or drinking alcohol, but it is something. Easter with its Easter Eggs and two bank holidays is firmly still part of the “system” and the psyche of modern life. But Ascension Day & Whitsunday barely get a look in. It’s probably because no one has found a commercial exploitation of these two days, Historically Whitsun was such an important festival that in Mediaeval times Villeins were even released from their obligations to work for their lord for a whole week.
According to the Bible Jesus took 40 days after his resurrection to complete his earthly mission before ascending into heaven (Ascension Day) and then a few days later the Holy Spirit arrives (Whitsun or nowadays Pentecost) and fills the Apostles with vim and vigour to start their mission to preach the Gospel. So much so that Peter is recorded as having to tell the listening crowd that “no, these men are not drunk as it is only 9o’clock of the morning!”
As we slowly come out of the semi-hibernation that will forever be associated with COVID19 and all its offspring we will need a bit (or probably more) of the vigour shown by Peter and the others to get back to some form of “normality” whatever that will mean. So “gird up your loins” and prepare for the work required to repair us as individuals and society in general both mentally and physically; and hopefully we could end up in a better place than where we were before.