May Day bank holiday to move to a Friday to mark 75th anniversary of VE Day

The early May Day bank holiday will be moved back four days next year to coincide with the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

VE Day – or Victory in Europe Day – is marked on May 8 and commemorates the Allies accepting the surrender of Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

The May Day bank holiday is traditionally held on a Monday but will be put back to the Friday and form part of a three-day weekend of commemorative events.

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VE DAY 1945: How the war ended
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VE DAY 1945: How the war ended
(Original Caption) 5/11/1945-Luneburg Heath, Germany- In the 21st Army group headquarters at Luneburg Heath, Field Marshal, Bernard Montgomery, puts his signature to the document of unconditional surrender of German Forces in Holland, Northern Germany, and Denmark. The surr
(Original Caption) 5/11/1945- Luneburg Heath, Germany: Montgomery dictates surrender terms. Five German delegates listen intently as Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, commander of the 21st Army group, reads the surrender terms to them during a meeting ast Luneburg Heath, headquarters of the 21st Army Group. Left to right around the table: Major Friedal, Kontur Adm. Wagener, Gen. Adm. Hans Georg Friedeburg; Field Marshall Montgomery; Gen. of the Infantry Kinzel, and Colonel Poleck. The surrender terms for German forces in Northern Germany, Holland, and Denmark, were signed here on May 4, 1945.
German Colonel-General Paul Stumpf signs the surrender terms for the defeated Luftwaffe in Berlin (Germany) May 9, 1945. (Photo by Photo12/UIG/Getty Images)
F.M. Montgomery Receives the German Surrender', 1945 (1955). From left to right: Rear Admiral Wagner, General Admiral Von Friedeburg, Mr. Trumbull Warren jr., Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery. On 4 May 1945 at Luneburg Heath, east of Hamburg, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery accepted the unconditional surrender of the German forces in the Netherlands, northwest Germany including all islands, in Denmark and all naval ships in those areas. The surrender preceded the end of World War II in Europe. From Churchill: The Man of the Century - A Pictorial Biography, edited by Neil Ferrier. [L.T.A. Robinson Limited, London, 1955]. Artist Unknown(Photo by The Print Collector/Getty Images)
Picture released on May 12, 1945 of German soldiers laying down arms after their surrender, during the Second World War. / AFP PHOTO / - (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
Britain's Prime Minister Winston Churchill, center, joins the royal family, from left, Princess Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth, King George VI, and Princess Margaret, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London, England, on VE-Day on May 8, 1945. (AP Photo)
The Supreme Commander, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower and his party enjoy a belated V-E Day celebration during a suprise visit to London on May 15, 1945. Left to right is Lt. John Eisenhower, son of the commander, Miss Tony Porter, Eisenhower, his secretary Lt. Kay Summersby and Gen. Omar N. Bradley. (AP Photo)
Danish patriots who entered the city of Copenhagen on the announcement of Germany’s capitulation, march away a Gestapo agent, who was rounded up by men of the resistance group, during VE Day celebrations, on May 22, 1945. (AP Photo)
The Dutch town of Enschede, Netherlands, during VE Day celebrations,on May 12, 1945. Men and women dancing in the square. (AP Photo)
Through streets lined deep with jubilant Danish crowds, British troops enter the city of Copenhagen during VE Day celebrations on May 11, 1945, after the announcement of Germany’s unconditional surrender to the Allies. (AP Photo/Eddie Worth)
British troops which crossed the Austrian border on VE Day are now wetly policing their area. The Austrian border being policed by british military policemen, May 10, 1945. (AP Photo)
President Harry S. Truman (right center), gestures as he tells newsmen details of surrender of Germany during press conference at the White House in Washington, May 8, 1945 attended by 123 reporters. At top, facing, are (left to right): Gen. G.C. Marshall, Col. Harry Vaughan, J.L. Reinsch, Rep. Joseph Martin, first lady Bess Truman, Rep. John W. McCormack, Mary Margaret Truman, Admiral William D. Leahy, Capt. James K. Vardaman, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, Matthew Connally, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal, Senate President Protem Kenneth McKellar, Edward McKin, Stephen Larly, Jonathan Daniels, Attorney General Francis Biddle and Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins. (AP Photo)
Mounted policemen strive to clear a path for Premier Winston Churchill’s car on its way through a surging crowd of VE Day celebrants in Parliament Square, London on May 8, 1945, after announcement of German surrender. The premier stands in his car to acknowledge cheers of crowd. (AP Photo)
The Tower of London floodlit during the VE Day celebrations, on May 8, 1945. (AP Photo)
A seething mass of humanity jammed itself into Whitehall VE-Day, to see the Premier, his cabinet ministers and chief of staff who are to appear on the balcony of the Ministry of Health. A view of the enormous crowd packed into Whitehall as one looks down the street toward the Cenotaph, London, on May 8, 1945. (AP Photo)
After making his public broadcast officially announcing Germany’s total surrender, the Prime Minister went to the House of Commons, to make a short address and them moved that the House attend at the church of St. Margaret’s Westminster, to give humble and reverent thanks to almighty God for our deliverance from the threat of German domination. The House then rose and followed the Speaker to the church. Prime Minister Winston Churchill, centre, in the procession of members of the House leaving the Palace of Westminster for St. Margaret’s Church in London, on May 8, 1945. (AP Photo)
A seething mass of humanity jammed itself into Whitehall on VE-Day, to see the premier, his cabinet ministers and chiefs of staff who are to appear on the balcony of the Ministry of Health. A section of the huge crowd gathered in Parliament Square into Whitehall in London on May 8, 1945, as they listened to the premier’s broadcast officially announcing Germany’s unconditional surrender. (AP Photo)
A vast crowd assembled in front of Buckingham Palace, London, on VE Day, May 8, 1945, cheers the Royal Family as they come out on the balcony, centre, minutes after the official announcement of Germany's unconditional surrender. From left are: Princess Elizabeth; Queen Elizabeth; King George VI; and Princess Margaret. (AP Photo/Leslie Priest)
The Dutch town of Enschede, Netherlands, during VE Day celebrations,on May 12, 1945. Men and women dancing in the square. (AP Photo)
Throughout the day, Transport Hall in Transport House was jammed with men and women of the Labour Movement pouring over the tape machine and watching constantly the news of the rising majority of the Labour Party as it was flashed on to a screen. When Clement Attlee accompanied by his wife, Violet, entered, the people jumped on to chairs cheering wildly and swarmed round him to shake hands. Clemet Attlee gives the Ve-sign to cheering throngs which gathered at Transport House, in London on July 26, 1945, to hear Labour’s great victory at the polls. Violet Attlee stands beside her husband, slightly obscured by his arm. (AP Photo)
British girls, of the Picture Division of the London Office of War Information dance in the street with American soldiers during the 'V-E Day' celebration in London May 8, 1945. (Photo by Photo12/UIG/Getty Images)
Workers celebrate Victory in Europe Day in Manchester at the end of the Second World War. 8th May 1945. (Photo by Kemsley/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
VJ Day Street Party at Heaton Park, Manchester. August 1945. (Photo by Manchester Evening News Archive/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
FRANCE - MAY 08: 8Th Anniversary Of Ve-Day (May 8Th, 1945). (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
Mr. Churchill's V.E. Day Broadcast', 1945 (1955). Mr. Churchill broadcast end of hostilities of WWII, one minute after midnight, although 'ceasefire' had been sounded along the front. Millions of people rejoiced in the news that Germany had surrendered, relieved the intense strain of total war was finally over. From Churchill: The Man of the Century - A Pictorial Biography, edited by Neil Ferrier. [L.T.A. Robinson Limited, London, 1955]. Artist Unknown(Photo by The Print Collector/Getty Images)
Sir Winston Churchill leaving the Houses of Parliament in London on victory day celebrations (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Children sit down to a victory party at a V-shaped table, given by residents at Kentwell Close, Brockley in south London. (Photo by Reg Speller/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 05: �From the beflagged balcony of the Mansion House, General Eisenhower waves his cap to the crowd: �I am now a Londoner myself�, he said.� American general Dwight Eisenhower (1890-1969) was supreme commander of allied forces in Europe during World War Two, and became 34th President of the United States. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Belgium: VE Day Peace Celebrations In Brussels, 1st Day. Au Bon Marche' with a large picture of the King of Belgians, the place all decorated at the Place Rogler, Brussels.
Victory celebrations in Central Birmingham at the end of the Second World War. 15th May 1945. (Photo by Birmingham Post and Mail Archive/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) 5/14/45-Halifax, Nova Scotia: Scenes like this, showing servicemen and women drinking liquour by the carton in vacant lots of the city, were the rule in Halifax on V-E day. Authorities are still trying to count up the damage done by celebrating rioters who broke into liquor stores and helped themselves to the stock. Latest figure of the damage is put as $5,000,000 and two lives lost. Leaves granted to some 8,000 naval personnel in hte area for V-E day is blamed for the Ruckus.
General-Colonel Dmitri Tsvetaev (left), Commander of the Soviet 33rd Army, entertains William Hood Simpson (1888 - 1980, centre), Commander-in-Chief of the US 9th Army, and his staff to a VE Day banquet at the Russian headquarters in Zerbst, Germany, World War II, 12th May 1945. They also exchanged their pistols, watches and carbines. (Photo by Fred Ramage/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
9th May 1945: Princess Elizabeth is greeted by crowds as she tours the East End of London on the day after VE Day. (Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone/Getty Images)
VE Day celebrations in London at the end of the Second World War. Huge crowds gathered around Piccadilly Circus during the celebrations. 8th May 1945. (Photo by Nixon & Greaves/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
World War II veteran Tony Iacoppi, 90, from Enfield, takes a moment to reflect as he walks through British war graves in the shadow of Monte Cassino Abbey before a British commemoration service at the Cassino Commonwealth War Cemetery on the second day of his tour to Italy. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)
World War II veteran Tony Iacoppi, 90, from Enfield, takes a moment to reflect as he walks through British war graves in the shadow of Monte Cassino Abbey before a British commemoration service at the Cassino Commonwealth War Cemetery on the second day of his tour to Italy. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)
LOOS-EN-GOHELLE, FRANCE - MARCH 13: (EDITORS NOTE: This image was processed using digital filters). Corporal Stuart Gillies of The 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland practices his bagpipes in Loos British Cemetery during a rehearsal for a re-burial ceremony on March 13, 2014 in Loos-en-Gohelle, France. Almost 100 years after they were killed in action in the World War One battle of Loos in 1915, twenty British soldiers will be re-interred in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Loos British Cemetery in Northern France. Private William McAleer, from the 7th Battalion the Royal Scottish Fusiliers, was found with his identity disc, but others found him remain unidetified and will be buried as soldiers 'Known unto God'. However, among the other soldiers are a Northumberland Fusilier, a further six Royal Scottish Fusiliers, a member of the York and Lancaster Regiment, two Queens Own Cameron Highlanders and nine others for whom no regiment has been identified. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
The front page of the Albuquerque Journal features a headline about V-E, the day of Germany's surrender to America, marking the end of World War II. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
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Sir Andrew Gregory, chief executive of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, said it was a "fitting" idea.

He said: "It is our duty to keep the events of the past alive in collective memory, including future generations – this is how we ensure that such a conflict never happens again.

"It is our hope that the nation takes a moment to reflect on the significance of this date, as a milestone that changed the course of history for the whole world."

The announcement follows events across the UK and France to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

As part of the VE Day commemorations, more than 20,000 pubs will encourage drinkers to toast the heroes of the war while churches will take part in a Ringing Out For Peace.

The bank holiday will move in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but not necessarily in Scotland as bank holidays are devolved to Holyrood.

Business secretary Greg Clark said moving the bank holiday was a "right and fitting tribute".

He added: "VE Day marked an historic moment in not only our nation's but the world's history and it is important that we commemorate this great occasion on its 75th anniversary.

"Honouring those who did their duty – whether on the battlefields of Europe or through their efforts and sacrifices here at home."

The May Day bank holiday has only ever been moved once before, when it was shifted from May 1 to May 8 in 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of VE Day.

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