May Day 2020: when is the first bank holiday in May and why has it changed to a Friday?

The month of May has two bank holidays every year, with one at the beginning and one at the end of the month

But this year, instead of landing on a Monday, the first May bank holiday will be on a Friday.

May bank holiday change in 2020

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Instead of taking place on Monday 4 May, the first May bank holiday of 2020 has been moved to Friday 8 May to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

The month of May has two bank holidays every year, with one at the beginning and one at the end of the month

According to Gov.uk, this is “only the second time ever that the early May bank holiday has been moved – the first was in 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of VE Day.”

Commemorating VE Day

The change in the Bank Holiday day will commemorate and honour the sacrifice that men and women made during the Second World War.

Gov.uk added, “The occasion will remember the contribution of British, Commonwealth and Allied armed forces personnel; those who contributed to the war effort and safeguarded the Home Front.

“As well as marking the Allies’ victory in 1945, the bank holiday will serve as an opportunity to pay tribute to those who have served and continue to serve in the UK Armed Forces and their families.

What is VE day?

On 8 May 1945, VE (Victory in Europe) Day signified an end to nearly six years of a war, with millions of people rejoicing in the news that Germany had surrendered.

People marked the victory in towns and cities across the world with street parties, dancing and singing.

The UK currently remains in lockdown due the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with pubs closed and social distancing guidelines in place.

At 11am, a two-minute national silence will be held to remember the declaration of victory and the end of the Second World War in Europe.

Between 2.45 and 3.45pm, the first of two special BBC One programmes to mark VE75 will be broadcast, an including extract from Sir Winston Churchill’s victory speech.

Throughout the afternoon, Britons are encouraged to hold 1940s-style afternoon tea parties at home rather than street parties, including their homemade bunting and recipes from the era.

The Queen will then address the nation at 9pm, followed by national doorstep rendition of Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’.