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Victory Day – La fête de la victoire in France

8th May is Victory Day in France and a bank holiday.

La fête de la Victoire, le jour de la liberation – is a holiday which celebrates the end of World War II in France and of the French people’s freedom.

On May 8 1945, Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French Forces, announced the official end of World War II in France. There was jubilation throughout the land and church bells were rung marking the end of six years of war and oppression

The recognition of this day as an official national holiday only came in 1981 after a series of political debates and protests from veterans and the general public and an attempt by successive Governments to hold the celebratory day on other dates in May to avoid too many Public Holidays in the month too close together (there are 4 holidays in May).

Today in France La Fête de la Victoire is celebrated much like other patriotic holidays with parades and religious ceremonies. Wreaths and flowers are also abundant and ceremonies take place across France, as citizens remember World War II and in Paris, the French President and veterans attend a celebration on the Champs-Elysees.

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