A brilliant song from the Horrible Histories Team
The Lead up to VE Day
How to have a #VE75 Day celebration with your family – even during lockdown
VE Day is coming up soon on Friday 8th May - but how can we celebrate while self-isolating?
This year, VE Day will coincide with the early May Day bank holiday, making it the perfect time to get together with your household for a celebration. The UK may be in lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still have a weekend of celebrations to mark this special moment in history.
What does VE Day stand for?
VE Day, which stands for Victory in Europe Day, was the day on which allied forces announced the surrender of Germany in Europe on May 8th, 1945. It marked the end of Adolf Hitler’s reign and was a cause for celebration all over the world. At 3pm that day, Prime Minister Winston Churchill told the nation that the war was over. In London, a crowd of 50,000 celebrated the momentous event in Piccadilly Circus, cheering and waving flags in the street. This year is particularly poignant, given that it’s the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
When is VE Day 2020?
Taking place on Friday 8th May, this year’s VE Day will be unlike other years, as we’ll have three days to celebrate the historic occasion marking the day that Victory in Europe prevailed during the Second World War. The government purposely moved the annual May bank holiday in order to hold the VE Day celebrations over a long weekend.
Planned celebrations for VE Day that can no longer take place
Before the coronavirus outbreak, a series of celebrations were set to take place in order to mark the special moment. There was set to be a VE Day concert at the Royal Albert Hall, and pubs were planning on staying open later than usual to allow people to raise a toast to the historic moment. The public were also being encouraged to hold street parties, while an official procession down the Mall was also due to take place. Of course, celebrating in this way can’t happen under the current UK lockdown rules – so how can we mark the occasion in a different way during the pandemic restrictions?
VE Day celebrations decor and ideas
VE Day celebrations in lockdown: how to make the most of it
There are plenty of ways you can still get involved in the big day, from hosting a special VE Day celebrations picnic or afternoon tea with your household to decorating the house with flags and bunting. If you’re a dab hand in the kitchen, try whipping up some VE Day-inspired retro snacks and baking treats – and, even if you’re not, you can’t go wrong with a strawberry cheesecake. All washed down with a glass of fizz, of course! Keep reading for food, drink, decor and baking ideas for VE Day celebrations in lockdown.
Your VE Day celebrations timetable
Just because we can’t get together and mark VE Day with our extended friends and family, it doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to celebrate within the safe bubbles of our own homes. Dedicated programmes will be broadcast to help you get involved in the celebrations.
- 11am | BBC One | The Nation Remembers BBC One will lead a poignant two-minute silence to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
- 2.45pm | BBC One | The Announcement of Victory Winston Churchill’s historic speech will also be broadcast – providing a fascinating insight into what the public will have heard on that significant day all those years ago.
- 8pm | BBC One | The People’s Celebration Viewers can also tune in to a special programme on VE Day on BBC One, which will see some of the UK’s biggest stars (Katherine Jenkins, Beverley Knight), sing a rendition of the iconic ‘We’ll Meet Again’, by Vera Lynn. Throughout the show, we will hear from the real stars of the night, the people who still remember that historic evening and can tell us what it was like, first hand.
- 9pm | BBC One | The Queen’s speech: The Queen herself will be giving a special address to the nation (her second during the coronavirus pandemic), at 9am on 8th May – which is the exact same time that her father, King George VI, spoke to the UK 75 years ago, on the actual VE Day.
How to host a VE Day street party
Holding a VE day street party in lockdown may mean holding a picnic in your front garden, or on your doorstep, and decorating your home in the national colours. If the weather isn’t kind, you could always host an afternoon tea indoors with your household – and invite extended friends and family to join you on a video call, using a platform such as Zoom, FaceTime or Houseparty.
On the official VE Day website, Pageantmaster Bruno Peek said that they are still encouraging people to raise a glass to the heroes of WW2 from inside their homes at 3pm on 8th May. He said, “Raise a glass of refreshment of their choice, and undertake the following ‘Toast’ – ‘To those who gave so much, we thank you,’ using this unique opportunity to pay tribute to the many millions at home and abroad that gave so much to ensure we all enjoy and share the freedom we have today.” Raise a glass from your doorstep with your neighbours and toast the end of the war, as well as each other, for continuing to observe UK lockdown rules together to flatten the curve and support the NHS.
The children will love decorating the house and the VE Day celebrations are a perfect time for getting them involved with some fun crafts ideas and activities, like making your own bunting, or trying some vegetable printing in shapes and patterns themed around VE Day.
You could also try some of these baking recipes for children to get them into the spirit of VE Day. They’re super easy to master, whether you’re a keen baker or not