This weekend, people across the UK will unite in mass remembrance, honoring people who are no longer with us on the county’s inaugural day of celebration.
This day, which takes place on Sunday 26th June, will provide a moment for all of us to pause in our busy lives and celebrate the ones we have lost.
This could mean visiting their favorite place, playing a certain song, searching for an old photo album, going on their favorite walk, or cooking a meal that reminds you of that person.
“In a non-stop modern world, we can feel increasingly difficult to keep in touch as much as we would like the lives of those who are no longer with us – so on the day of celebration, each of us can decide which life we will celebrate and how best we would like to do so,” the site explains. .
“Many places, cultures and religions have times and customs to remember as ways to honor loved ones or grandparents. The day of celebration can relate to all of them.”
And after the past two years of the pandemic – with more than 177,000 people in the UK missing linked to Covid – the idea couldn’t seem more relevant.
A group of 16 friends – all working in different fields and from different backgrounds – came up with the idea for a day of celebration, but said it “does not belong to anyone”.
“It is open to everyone from everywhere, regardless of age, race, creed or background, to people of all faiths or no religion,” the organizers say.
The website and social media pages share stories from participants, explaining who they will remember and why.
Among them is Alex Locker, the recognized ‘foodie’ who will be making risotto this weekend in memory of her father, the ‘king of risotto’.
“It’s a recipe that reminds me of really happy times and will be shared with the people I love,” she says. “My father was standing by the stove with his shirt sleeves rolled up, turning constantly, drinking wine and talking; enjoying the slow process, and as long as I kept stirring, the magic came together.”
Another person celebrating is David Mwanaka, originally from Zimbabwe, who became the first farmer to grow sorghum in the UK after learning the tricks of the trade from his late father.
“For me, celebrating my father means bringing my family together,” he says. “We sit and talk really well and eat the food we grew up eating because we can now grow that food in the UK. We take this time to celebrate previous generations because we are who we are today, because of what they did.”
Jo Sedley-Burke of Essex, who is president of Widow and Young’s charity (WAY), will celebrate her late wife Paula by going to the Ritz, where they established the hotel’s first gay civil partnership in 2006. She wants to point out not only what they have achieved as individuals, but also Ie how far society has progressed since then.
“Being one of the first gay couples to establish a civil partnership, and the first to do so at the Ritz, I felt really special and worth the campaign,” she says.
“I loved roses and I want to grow a rose in a vase that I can take with me wherever I go. There will always be Paula in me.”
Celebrities are also involved, with Stephen Fry, Richard E. Grant, Bro Leith, Lenny James, Anya Hindmarch, Helena Bonham Carter, Jamie Oliver, Gemma Arterton, Harriet Walter and River Midway, all planning activities.
Founding Friends – Tony Grounds, Elizabeth Adconley, Robert Weiss, Sir Alan Parker, Dory Dana Haire, Shaheen Bakhradnia, Ali Esseri, Kim Wilkie, Andrea Hartley, Saul Parker, Sam Pollard, Julia Samuel, Charlotte Metcalfe, Jundeep Anand, Jessica Parker and Dr. Martin Scors – Note that the day of celebration may not be suitable for those who have experienced a loss recently.
But for those who have sat in grief for a while – and feel ready to smile in the past – today provides an opportunity to share beautiful memories with others.
Today is all about bringing people together, so if you remember a loved one this weekend, use the hashtag #celebrationday to connect with people across the country who are celebrating.