Liberation Day, celebrated in Italy on 25th April, is a public holiday that marks the end of the Second World War, 2021 celebrates the 76th anniversary. Many other countries also celebrate the end of World War II, but on different days and with different names. For example, in the Netherlands, the public holiday celebrating Liberation Day falls on the 5th May, following the day of the Remembrance of the Dead on the 4th May. The UK celebrates Victory in Europe Day on 8th May but it is not a public holiday as there is already a bank holiday on the first Monday of May known as May Day. This year, in Italy, Liberation Day falls on a Sunday, unlike the UK a public holiday that falls on a weekend day does not get moved to the next working day, so there is no day off for Italians this year!
Liberation Day is one of Italy’s most important public holidays, celebrating the release from both the German occupation and from years of fascist dictatorship. This day is also dedicated to the remembrance of the partisans, the Italian Resistance, who gave their lives fighting against the fascist government and against the German occupation. As well as Liberation Day, the day is also known as the anniversary of the Resistance.
Every year, many events are held to celebrate Liberation Day although in 2020, and again this year, events have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the requirement for social distancing. There will be no commemorations or processions open to the public but Italians are being encouraged to celebrate at home, with an appeal to hang the tricolour flag from balconies and at 3 pm sing (preferably outside on balconies or in gardens) “Bella Ciao” together. Look out for hashtags #bellaciaoinognicasa and #iorestolibero. There are lots of other versions of Bella Ciao to be found, I liked the one below because, for those of us not familiar with it, the text is displayed as well. As a new Italian Citizen, since 21st April 2021, I will definitely have to join in!