VE Day in Lockdown

VE Day (or Victory in Europe Day) on the 8th May will be slightly different this year due to the very necessary lockdown conditions. But that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate in style!

Celebrating the end of World War 2 is special this year because it marks 75 years since the war ended. Not only has the bank holiday been moved to Friday, but lots of things are happening that you can get involved with from the safety of your home as we come together to mark this special day.

In the run up to VE Day, why not get organised?

  • You can have an afternoon tea party in your garden or balcony. Dressing up your windows with Union Jack themed bunting is a fun way to get the party spirit started. And if you have children they could draw and colour to make their own bunting for the occasion. But don’t stop there! I’ve plenty of suggestions for getting them involved further down this post, so keep reading.
  • Looking out for elderly neighbours. Do they have their essentials? Could you surprise them with something special? Bake something nice or invite them to sit in their garden/balcony/front lawn at the same time as you and join in with a cuppa, so they can feel special about celebrating the day too.
  • Raising your glass with the nation at 3pm after Winston Churchill’s speech. Even though we will all be in our own homes, we can still feel connected. Will you be raising a cup of tea … or perhaps something stronger? Make sure you’ve got what you need in the house and get creative in true VE Day spirit if you don’t have everything you’d want.

Following the suggested schedule for the day might make it feel rather special and help you plan. Setting up Zoom or other platforms to be able to see your loved ones and raising a glass together will help everyone feel connected on this remarkable day. Or getting your neighbours involved, in a socially distant and responsible way, by gathering in gardens or front patios to celebrate together – a lockdown street party of sorts. Imagine how gorgeous the road would look with everyone’s windows decorated!

Here is the schedule of events;

  • 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.
  • 4pm Have tea and scones (Or coffee and cake).
  • 6pm Have dinner and raise your glass to your neighbours.
  • 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. Then after a nationwide sing along to We’ll Meet Again with the Royal British Legion.

For children, this event is a great way to learn all about the history of VE Day and why it’s important that we remember it. Here are some tips for children to help them celebrate this special day in style and to get them involved, as well as sneaking in a fun history lesson.

1. Youngsters could practise what a Victory Roll is and try doing their hair like that for the day.

2. Why not set up a home theatre? Create a backdrop with old curtains or fabric to act out VE day, using characters such as Winston Churchill and Vera Lynn. Or acting out soldiers celebrating together.

3. Children could listen to the songs of the time in 1945 and choose some of the music for your celebration at home. Get the tunes here

4. Baking has become incredibly popular during lockdown – Mary Berry will be proud – and there are some fab recipes that children can do to help eat in style on the day. Scones, sponge cakes, tray bakes and biscuits will all be lovely, easy things to make.

5. If you have enough space, a balcony or garden (or even an inside space where you can create a picnic rug) you can teach your children all about Afternoon Tea; the history of it, where it came from and how it’s considered such a British thing to do. Your children could help to set a menu and what will be needed to make an afternoon tea.

6. Get their help to make bunting. Children can use poster paints, wrapping paper, anything to hand at home to get creative. More details here. Why not offer a neighbour some homemade bunting to display in their window to celebrate?

7. Writing a diary of how someone might have felt in 1945 might be a great exercise for children to do. They could write from a point of view of:

  • A Soldier
  • A family member waiting to hear from a loved one who was a soldier in the war.
  • A nurse helping wounded soldiers back to recovery.
  • A child evacuee separated from their parents (There were 827,000 school-age children that had to be evacuated into the country from their parents and family during the war).

Whatever you choose to do on the day, have fun, stay safe and keep smiling. With a lack of big, community events it’s a chance to make some memories and feel connected during a difficult time. We can get through this lockdown if we all support each other.

By Louise O’Brien

Photo Credit to Flags and Flagpoles