France’s July 14 National Holiday: A Brief History
France’s July 14 National Holiday, also known as Bastille Day, commemorates two pivotal events in French history: the Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, and the Fête de la Fédération on July 14, 1790. These events marked the beginning of the French Revolution and the unity of the French people, respectively.
The Storming of the Bastille
The Bastille was a fortress and prison in Paris that had become a symbol of the absolute monarchy of King Louis XVI. On July 14, 1789, a mob of Parisians stormed the Bastille, freeing the seven prisoners held there and seizing weapons from the armory. The Storming of the Bastille is considered to be the start of the French Revolution.
The Fête de la Fédération
One year after the Storming of the Bastille, on July 14, 1790, the French people celebrated the Fête de la Fédération. This national festival was held on the Champ de Mars in Paris and was attended by over 100,000 people. The Fête de la Fédération was a symbol of the unity of the French people and their commitment to the ideals of the French Revolution.
Bastille Day Today
Bastille Day is a major national holiday in France and is celebrated with a variety of events, including military parades, fireworks displays, and public concerts. The holiday is a time for French people to reflect on their country’s history and celebrate the values of liberty, equality, and fraternity.
Here are some of the ways that Bastille Day is celebrated in France:
- Military parades: The largest military parade in Europe takes place on the Champs-Élysées in Paris on July 14th. The parade is attended by the President of France, other government officials, and foreign guests.
- Fireworks displays: Fireworks are set off all over France on July 14th. The most impressive fireworks displays are held in Paris, Lyon, and Marseille.
- Public concerts: Public concerts are held all over France on July 14th. These concerts feature a variety of music genres, including traditional French music, pop music, and rock music.
Bastille Day is a time for French people to come together and celebrate their shared history and culture. The holiday is a reminder of the important values of liberty, equality, and fraternity that are enshrined in the French Republic.