Victory in Europe

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

Get out the bunting! How to celebrate the 75th anniversary in lockdown.

The second Friday of May marks 75 years since VE Day as the United Kingdom remembers the end of war in Europe. Lockdown means that there will be no street parties, parades or concerts this year, but nonetheless there is plenty going on to celebrate. And, boy, do we need a party!

Here is all the information you need on what VE Day is, why we celebrate it, and the ways in which you can make sure to mark the occasion in lockdown. 

When is VE Day 2020?

VE Day 2020 takes place on Friday May 8 in the UK. This year, it will be on a Bank Holiday - a decision that has been made specially to honour the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

What is VE Day?

VE Day (Victory in Europe Day) is the day on which Allied forces formally announced the surrender of Germany, which brought the Second World War to a close in Europe.

The military surrender was first signed on May 7, but a slightly modified document with the final terms was signed on May 8 in Berlin.

Celebrations immediately erupted throughout Britain and more than one million people celebrated in the streets. In London, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth appeared on the balcony alongside Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

In a radio address to the nation, Churchill said: "My dear friends, this is your hour. We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing." VE Day is celebrated in memory of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany and Axis forces in the Second World War. It commemorates the armed forces and navy personnel who lost their lives in battle.

How to celebrate VE Day in lockdown

Although social distancing measures have led to gatherings and parties being cancelled, a range of celebratory events will take place during lockdown.

A two minute silence will be take place at 11am, which will be broadcast on the BBC. 'The Nation's Toast to the Heroes of WW2' is scheduled for 3pm, with people across the country standing up and raising a glass of a drink of their choice while saying the following toast: "To those who gave so much, we thank you."

Organisers are also encouraging Britons to decorate their home in red, white and blue, and hold a 'stay-at-home street party'.

The official VE Day 75 government website includes and party planning tips plus food tips to help you celebrate at home, featuring a recipe from Prue Leith. There is a dedicated online toolkit on the VE Day 75 website, including bunting and posters that can be printed out and displayed at home.