Every 8 May is Victory Day in the French overseas department of Martinique, as it is in France itself. Victory Day is observed as a public holiday. The holiday commemorates the day in 1945 when Charles de Gaulle declared the end of World War II in a speech made in Paris.
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Leading up to Victory Day, there will be special history lessons and themes at schools and colleges on the subject of World War II, the Nazi oppression, and the liberation of France and Europe.
On Victory Day itself, you can expect there to be festive parades, special church services, patriotic concerts, and proud display of the French national flag. In general, the people of Martinique will be in a joyful mood on Victory Day, but there will also be times of sombre remembrance of those veterans who fought and sometimes died to secure the victory that Victory Day celebrates.
As World War II veterans are getting older and fewer, they don’t take as active a role in the celebrations as they once did. But you will still see some involved, and you will hear people honour and thank them for their service.
Also, in Martinique, 8 May is the day of remembrance of the volcanic eruption of the island’s Mount Pelee, which led to the death of some 30,000 people.