This coming bank holiday weekend, 8 to 10 May 2020, marks 75 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe. To commemorate this important anniversary the three-day international festival ‘VE Day 75’ was planned. But due to the coronavirus and social distancing measures, all planned public VE Day 75 events are cancelled.
But even in lockdown, it’s still possible for us to have a shared moment to celebrate the end of the Second World War in Europe, and to commemorate the suffering endured by men and women in wartime across the world.
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.
Why do we celebrate VE day?
VE Day marked the end of World War 2 – and in turn, the end of Adolf Hitler’s reign. As such, it 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.
Key VE Day events
The key events to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day are:
- A 2-minute silence on Friday at 11am on your doorstep.
- Nations toast to the Heroes of World War II, Friday 8 May at 3pm.
Raise a glass with the words ‘To those who gave so much, we thank you’.
- Queens Speech, followed by a sing along to Vera Lynns ‘We’ll meet again’
How to celebrate during lockdown
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!
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.
Make your own bunting and bake cakes to celebrate! Get the kids involved in activities to help celebrate the end of the war, whilst also coming together in the time of need we are currently experiencing.