While the last few months have been tricky for many of us (to say the least!), let's try to imagine the mood of the UK on 8 May 1945, when Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that the six-year war in Europe had come to an end, following Germany's surrender.
Legendary street parties followed, with even the Queen and her sister, Princess Margaret, allowed to leave the Palace to join in the celebrations. Friday 8 May 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (otherwise known as VE Day) and, even though our celebrations may look different this year, we still want to raise a glass to all those who bravely fought in the Second World War!
Here are a few ways you can get involved:
- Take part in the two-minute silence that will be held at 11am on Friday, to remember and thank those who fought for our freedom.
- Listen out for solo buglers, cornet players or trumpeters playing The Last Post from their homes, at 2.55pm.
- As Churchill's speech is broadcast by the BBC at 3pm, stand on your doorstep and raise a glass for The Nation's Toast to the Heroes of World War Two, saying: 'To those who gave so much, we thank you.'
- At 9pm, tune into the Queen's pre-recorded address, which will be broadcast on BBC One at the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address 75 years earlier.
So, although we all have to follow social distancing guidelines, we can still get out in the garden – or on the balcony, patio, or front lawn – to join in the toast. Or, if you have no outdoor space, there's always Zoom or Facetime, right? And, since it's a bank holiday, we may even have time to whip up a batch of scones or finger sandwiches, to really get into the spirit of things.
Here are some of our top tips to throw a quintessentially British VE Day celebration…
have a traditional tea party
Search your cupboards and see what you have available to make finger sandwiches, cakes, and nibbles. Here are some of our favourite ideas…
Dig out any jars of jam and serve with homemade scones (or pick some up in store) and clotted cream, for an afternoon tea staple – the humble scone. What could be better?
Who could forget the tiffin, hailed as one of Her Majesty's 'favourite afternoon tea cakes by far'? As if we needed another reason to make it… Our recipe is ultra-indulgent.
How about rustling up a batch of these irresistible Queen Cakes? Make the decorations as patriotic as possible!
Seasonal strawberry recipes
Afternoon tea wouldn't be complete without a savoury treat or two! You can keep things simple with crustless cucumber sarnies, or make a stack of these moreish Coronation Chicken finger sandwiches. Our Egg Mayo sandwiches would go down a treat, and Mini quiches are hard to resist…
Every party needs a showstopper cake, and we think our Elizabeth Sponge Bunting Cake has the wow factor. We particularly love the postage-stamp bunting – have fun with your decorations, and don't forget to tag @asda with your creations, adding in the hashtag #GetYourCookOn. Another bonus with this cake? You'll be enjoying the leftovers for the next week!
how to create your BRITISH tea party
Whether hanging bunting from our windows or going all-out and festooning the entire garden, we'll be embracing the colours of the British flag with homemade decorations this bank holiday.
Here are a few other tips:
Set the table
A tea party wouldn't be complete without a tea set! From traditional florals to geometric styles and cocktail themes, just make sure it matches.
Get the kids involved – set aside any scraps of fabric, paints, and paper and let them get creative with paper chains, banners, posters and colourful bunting. You can download a bunting template from the BBC website here.
Create a playlist
Whether you choose to keep things authentic with wartime tunes or prefer a more contemporary playlist, we suggest opting for British bands and artists for this particular occasion!
Have a socially-distanced street party
Perhaps you and your neighbors have already arranged a 'street party' of sorts? It's easier than it sounds! Simply set up some chairs and a picnic table at the end of your drive or front lawn, and keep the refreshments coming.
Mix up a refreshing pitcher of lemonade – or, weather-permitting, these Pimms ice lollies will hit the spot. (Our strawberry ice lollies make a fantastic, non-alcoholic alternative). Failing that, you can't go wrong with a chilled bottle of fizz.
Plan a virtual celebration
Want to celebrate with your nearest and dearest friends and family, while in lockdown? There are so many video chat options – from Zoom to Facetime or Google Meet – that a virtual party has never been easier to organise.
You could encourage everyone to dress up for the occasion, before joining you in raising your glass (or cuppa) in a toast.
Are you inspired to plan your at-home VE Day celebration? Pop into your local store to pick up everything you need.