Victory Day (9. May) is a national holiday that celebrates the surrender of the German army at the end of the Second World War (Russia calls its involvement “The Great Patriotic War). The signing of the surrender act happened in the late evening on May 8, 1945 and due to time zone differences already on May 9 in Moscow. For this reason European countries have marked Victory day on May 8 and Russia on May 9.
Victory Day is an important day in Russia as it commemorates the huge toll the Russian population has paid during the war. This is especially true for St. Petersburg who was under siege for 2.5 years and lost more than one million residents during that time to starvation, bombings and stress.
On this days multiple events will take place all over Russia including military parades, honouring veterans, fireworks at night. Most of all current and former members of the Russian army will wear the uniforms and medals and people give flowers (red carnations) to veterans they meet on the street.
St. Petersburg is not only celebrating the victory of the Russian army but also the end of the blockade. A military parade will take starting from the palace square in front of the Winter Palace and battleships from the Baltic Fleet will lay anchor in the Neva River. Following the military parade will be walking the “Immortal Regiment”. This is a march down Nevsky Street of the veterans as well as everybody who has lost somebody during the war. Family members usually bring along pictures of their relatives who were killed during the war.
Victory Day is for Russians probably the second most important public holiday after the New Year celebrations and therefore mostly everybody will take part in festivities around the city. Due to the huge amount of people as well as parades it might be difficult to get through the city and traffic will move very slowly or not at all. Most events in every russian cities (including the parades) will happen on the main street of the city, as for Saint-Petersburg it is Nevsky avenue, for Moscow that would be Red Square.