Great Britain

VE Day 2021: When is it and is it a bank holiday?

THIS year, proud Brits will be commemorating 76 years since the end of World War II.

VE Day marks a special time in UK's history, normally commemorated with street parties, parades, and people coming together - but coronavirus restrictions have put a stop to plans for the second year running.

A happy group marches down a London street on VE Day

When is VE Day 2021?

VE Day falls today, on Saturday, May 8, 2021.

Before the outbreak of coronavirus, Brits took to the streets, pubs, and clubs to commemorate the fallen heroes - but with restrictions remaining in place, all public VE day events have been cancelled for the second year in a row.

Is VE Day a bank holiday?

Last year, the May Day bank holiday was moved from May 1 to May 8 - to mark 75 years since Nazi Germany surrendered.

It has only been moved once before, when it was again shifted from May 1 to May 8 to mark 50 years since VE Day.

This year, there is no bank holiday for VE day.

In 2021, VE Day falls on a Saturday.

What does VE Day stand for?

VE Day stands for Victory in Europe Day which took place on Tuesday, May 8, 1945.

It was the day on which allied forces announced the surrender of Germany in Europe.

It marked the end of Adolf Hitler’s war and sparked celebrations around the world.

The day before, at 2.41pm on May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered.

Hitler had committed suicide a week earlier leaving Grand Admiral Donitz of the German army to admit defeat.

The Normandy landings in June 1944 proved instrumental in achieving victory for the allies, as did the huge eastern offensives of the USSR.

Six years of a war that had cost millions of lives had finally come to an end.

How was it celebrated in 1945?

A crowd of 50,000 was packed into Piccadilly Circus waving flags.

A national holiday was declared and there was dancing in the street and singing.

At 3pm Prime Minister Winston Churchill broadcast from the War Cabinet Office to tell the nation war was over.

It was the same room Neville Chamberlain had announced that the country was at war in 1939.

King George VI also spoke to the nation on the radio, paying tribute to those who “laid down their lives” during the war.

The Royal Family made eight appearances during the day, waving to crowds on the balcony at Buckingham Palace.

The two young princesses - Elizabeth and Margaret – even slipped out of the palace to join the crowds.

Some had started the celebrations early and didn’t wait for the official celebrations on May 8.

For those who had lost loved ones it was a bittersweet day and many widows did not take part in the jubilations.

In America the day was dedicated to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had recently died.

President Roosevelt remains the longest-serving president in US history, holding office from 1933 to 1945 and winning an unprecedented four elections.

In France huge crowds went to Paris to celebrate.

What happened after VE Day?

Times were still tough and rationing didn’t officially end until 1954.

British and Commonwealth Armed Forces were still fighting in Burma, Singapore and Thailand.

It was not until August that Japan surrendered after the US dropped the first two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Second World War came to an end six years and one day after it started on September 2, 1945, when official surrender documents were signed on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay by the Japanese.

How is VE Day celebrated?

The momentous day is still celebrated and remembered by people around Britain each year.

The 70th anniversary of VE Day was marked with a series of events across the UK in 2015.

This year the Queen will commemorate the 75th anniversary with a televised address to the nation.

It will be broadcast on the BBC at 9pm - the exact moment her dad, King George VI gave a radio address 75 years ago.

May Day bank holiday 2020 pushed back four days to mark VE Day anniversary

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