VE Day celebrations in lockdown: how to celebrate at home
VE Day marked the end of World War 2 and this Friday the whole country will commemorate the 75th anniversary. At 3pm on 8th May 1945 Winston Churchill told the nation that the war was over, and Britain and its Allies celebrated the defeat of the Nazi regime. As wartime Prime Minister, Churchill declared 8th May a public holiday and Victory in Europe (VE) Day was met with parties, dancing and singing in the streets. It’s fair to say that this 75th anniversary will be unlike other years, but that’s not to say you can’t mark the occasion and pay your respects at home.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
You may not be able to enjoy any planned parties with friends, neighbours or extended family, but you can always hold a party within your household. Decorate your house in red, blue and white and pop on some VE Day songs (you could listen to a VE Day Spotify playlist put together by Bletchley Park, once the top-secret home of the WW2 codebreakers). You could cook a 1945-style meal (homity pie, anyone?) or bake a carrot cake (carrots were used to sweeten cakes and biscuits in place of rationed sugar) – try the ‘perfect’ recipe here. Or you could hold a traditional afternoon tea party with sandwiches, cakes and, a British classic, scones. If you have the right clothes, you could dress up and for those with longer hair, why not try a ‘victory roll’? This hairstyle was popular during the war and there are multiple videos online which you could follow to achieve the look.
You could learn the Lindy Hop swing dance! The American dance became popular in wartime thanks to the US servicemen who were stationed in Britain. English Heritage has put together a useful ‘VE Day At Home’ pack, which includes instructions on how to learn the ‘swing out’, which is the main move of the dance (or, of course, you could search videos on YouTube!)
Singing (on your doorstep rather than the streets)
Music helps keep morale high which could be handy today as it was in the 1940s. The English Heritage pack (above) has sing-along lyrics for classics such as Lambeth Walk and White Cliffs of Dover. Everyone can get involved with the nationwide sing-along to the lasting wartime song “We’ll Meet Again”, which is planned for Friday night and will be led by Dame Vera Lynn. The sing-along will happen just after 9pm, following the Queen’s address to the nation.
The Imperial War Museum has also created a four minute soundscape, called Voices of War, to commemorate VE Day, which will allow you to virtually ‘visit’ the museum. You will be able to listen to it on Friday 8th May by clicking here.
We hope you enjoy the long weekend.