The Christmas Truce is something that is just as meaningful one hundred years later and even more now on this anniversary.
With heavy fighting in the frozen mud of Flanders, soldiers received Christmas gifts and messages from home.
The war was expected to be over by Christmas. The Christmas spirit evoked a feeling of hope that it would all be ended soon and the soldiers could return to their families. German soldiers put their lit Christmas trees on the ledges of their trenches and started singing with British troops joining in. Gradually soldiers held up signs of peace and warily climbed out of the trenches and exchanged presents and greetings and sang carols. Near Mesen, some soldiers started playing football together, a show of camaraderie between enemies which never took place again.
To mark this symbol of peace, there are various events being held.
- 17 December: UEFA official ceremony at the Cathedral in Ypres
- 19 December: Mesen, Flanders –Football Supporters centenary commemoration Football match. An international football (7 by 7) tournament will take place on a football pitch in Mesen right next to the site of the historic Christmas Truce which has been recently been restored. In coming years, the pitch will host matches between teams of young players engaging in a Peace Education. The players, fans from eight different football associations will wear their official national and the coach of each the team will be an ambassador. After the match, the respective teams will take part in the ceremony of the Last Post at the Menin Gate in Ypres. The next day, teams will take part in an official visit of the battlefield area with excursions to the sites of other Truce events.
- 20 December: Mesen Football pitch – Concert by John Cale ( formerly of The Velvet Underground)
- 24 December : Peace Bell ringing across the World at Mesen
- 25 December: Peace Match played on the Flanders Peace Field at Mesen between a local and Scottish team.
- In London from 15th December, three street artists from the UK and Germany will create and design a fitting “Street Art” tribute to depict the Flanders Christmas Truce in a pictorial graffiti format. The co-creation will begin for the public to view from 15 – 26th December at the Shoreditch Art Wall in London’s Great Eastern Road. The artists*, will come together to reflect on the moment and create a unique design which captures the essence of the moment.
For more information, please visit Visit Flanders website.