What is VE Day?
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. 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. This year is particularly poignant, given that it’s the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
Numerous celebrations were planned, however, the outbreak of the coronavirus has meant most are cancelled. However, the Dunkirk spirit is still alive and the internet is full of people who are celebrating at home, decorating their houses having street party picnics and getting the kids involved. It is really heartwarming to see us all coming together even if we are apart on the monumentous day. There are some amazing Facebook groups bursting with great ideas of how to celebrate VE Day. Here are a few ideas:
Take a look at the original VE Photos – Take a Look at the Imperial War Museum pages here
VE Day Lockdown Street Party Timetable:
VE Day TV
- 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.
VE Day Decorations
The kids will love decorating the house and there are some excellent ideas out there for decorations to make and do, rather than buying them in. Karen one of our creators at Kidzplay has made party hats you can download and print that are proving really popular, and you can make spitfires from all those cardboard toilet tubes.
To get templates for paper chains, bunting etc bbc.co.uk have done a great job in preparing downloadable packs – Great British Bunting
Download the party hats Click Here for Printable Party Hats>>
Make this Spitfire to join in the celebrations, the instructions and template are here >>
to make Union Jack Bunting – click here
VE Day Food and Street Parties
During the actual VE Day people celebrated with cauliflower cheese with bacon and Spam hash. Although its great to be authentic it might be easier to stick with the traditional Afternoon Tea! Afternoon tea is great washed down with your favourite bottle of Fizz or a bottled beer.
My favourite suggestions are to do a simple Street Party Picnic, with finger sandwiches, pickles, chutneys to accompany. BBC Good Food has some lovely recipes to follow, personally we will be going with cheese and ham (a nod to the cheese/bacon and spam traditional fare) and Tinned Salmon. Tinned salmon because it reminds me of my Grandma, we used to have tea parties all the time when we stayed there over the school holidays. It was considered a real treat compared to the Shippams pate sandwiches we had normally (Now you will see my age!)
You also cannot go wrong with a classic Victoria Sponge, with gooey strawberry jam and silky buttercream. If you are more adventurous a lovely Battenburg Cake or Pineapple Upside Down Cake were also popular in the ’40s (Pineapple rings from a can though and Glace Cherries)
VE Day Singing
There were many artists of the day, from those names still familiar today like Vera Lynn, Anne Shelton, Dorothy Carless, Julie Dawn, Al Bowlly, Bing Crosby, The Andrew Sisters, The Ink Spots, Gracie Fields to those less well known, such as Betty Driver who entertained with E.N.S.A. and sang with Henry Hall’s band. To enjoy some 1940’s nostalgia, have 1940’s tunes playing whilst enjoying your tea party – VE Day Celebration Album
VE Day Films To Watch
Watching a wartime film will end the day nicely and there are plenty to choose from. If you have left it too late to order a DVD, Amazon have on demand videos that you can watch instantly so don’t worry you can still enjoy them.
These are a selection of our favourites:
Diary of Anne Frank (Particularly poignant at the minute)
Although not out for VE Day (I think the publishers missed a trick there!!) It is, however, available for the 18th May. It is a must-see film, better in the cinema, but if you missed it is definitely one to watch. You can pre-order it now and it will arrive for release day – Click Here
VE Day Dancing
The dance of the day was Lindy hop. If you go to youtube there are hundreds of videos teaching it, this video is an amateur’s attempt:
This was the strictly Lindy hop-a-thon to enjoy again:
VE Day Hair
The hair of the day was a victory roll. Here is how to style your hair for VE Day