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How to celebrate the VE day 75th anniversary

Published: 06/05/2020

Friday 8th May marks VE day, when the UK will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of fighting in Europe during the Second World War.

May 8th, 1945 was the date that Britain and its Allies celebrated their defeat of the Nazi regime after Germany signed its unconditional surrender on May 7th. Winston Churchill, the wartime Prime Minister declared May 8th a public holiday and Victory in Europe Day (VE) was celebrated with parties, dancing and singing in the streets.

This year’s May bank holiday was moved from Monday May 4th to Friday May 8th to allow for a long weekend of 75th anniversary commemorations.

Due to lockdown, these celebrations will now be limited but we wanted to share with you just some of the ways you can mark the occasion and pay your respects whilst at home.


Visit an online museum


The Imperial War Museum is inviting people to 'visit' from home by listening to a soundscape it has created to commemorate VE Day. Voices of War is a four-minute work featuring first-hand accounts of VE Day selected from IWM’s vast sound archive.

It will be available to listen to at iwm.org.uk/history/victory on Friday May 8.


Join in with a national sing-along!


There is a nationwide sing-along to wartime classic We'll Meet Again planned on Friday night - led by Dame Vera Lynn!

The 103-year-old singer will perform from a window at her Sussex home just after 9pm, following the Queen's special address to the nation, and viewers are encouraged to join her.

You can join in by tuning into the VE Day 75: The People's Celebration on BBC One from 8pm.


Eat 1945 style


Most food was rationed during the war and this meant that people had to be inventive with their recipes.

Meat shortages meant things like Spam or corned beef hash became staple dishes, while carrots were used to sweeten cakes and biscuits in place of sugar.

Other commonly-eaten dishes included the potato, cheese and onion-filled homity pie, supposedly first made by the Land Girls.

If that all sounds like too much time in the kitchen, Morrisons has launched a special VE Day Afternoon Tea box but you could also check whether any local cafes and restaurants are delivering special VE Day food near you, too.


Do your hair in a victory roll


This rolled and pinned hairstyle was popular during the war and became associated with the victory manoeuvre of fighter aircraft during the Battle of Britain in 1940.

It's still a popular look with fans of the vintage aesthetic and it's not as difficult as you might think to achieve.

Watch this YouTube video tutorial to show you how to do it.


Play a special soundtrack


Bletchley Park, once the top-secret home of the World War Two codebreakers, has put together a Spotify playlist of classics to set the soundtrack for your at-home celebrations.

You can practise your rendition of We'll Meet Again ready for 9pm, and listen to other song like Vera Lynn's There'll Always Be An England and Noël Coward's London Pride.

You can find the playlist here.


Make your own flags and display them


A similar idea to the NHS rainbows and a great way to get the kids involved! Draw your own Union Jack, colour it in and then stick it in your window to show other people that you're celebrating. If you have more time and patience, you could even make your own bunting to mark the occasion.