May Days

Happy Europe Day!

On 9 May 1950, Robert Schuman made a speech that led, two years later, to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community, a forerunner of the European Economic Community which led to the European Union we now know and love.

But hang on… 9 May is also Victory in Europe Day in Russia and some other former Soviet Union republics. Except those that don’t like Mother Russia, and who now celebrate it on 8 May. And the western allies, who mark the day as 7 May (or 5 May in Holland and Denmark).

For the record: the surrender was signed on the 7th, to take effect on the 8th (which would have been the 9th in the UK, thanks to double summer time), but had to be re-signed in Berlin on the 8th (9th in the USSR) to keep Stalin happy. So now you know.

Anyway; the point is, why are there so many ‘days’ in May? There’s also May Day, of course, 24 May used to be Empire Day, and there’s a second Bank Holiday at the end in the UK. History aside, what made May the month to have so many ‘days’?

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