Bastille Day, also known as French National Day, is a holiday that is celebrated on July 14th every year. It is a celebration of French culture, heritage, and the birth of the French Republic. The holiday is named after the Bastille, a fortress and prison in Paris that was stormed by revolutionaries on July 14th, 1789, marking the beginning of the French Revolution. Today, Bastille Day is celebrated with parades, fireworks, and other festivities throughout France and around the world. In this article, we’ll explore the history, traditions, and festivities associated with this important holiday.
About the Bastille Day
During the Bastille Day in France, people conduct various activities including civilian and military parades, musical performances, dances, balls, communal meals, and display of spectacular fireworks. In the morning of July 14. A large military parade, composed of service men and women from different units including the French navy, the French Foreign Legion, and even cadets from military schools, is held in Paris.
What is the parade in the Bastille Day?
The French president opens the parade. On the course of the parade, military aircraft fly over the rout. The end point of the parade is the Paris Fire Brigade. Most people spend the day by having a fun picnic and by eating a celebratory meal with their family and friends. Others prefer to spend the day quietly, reflecting on the sacrifices of the French heroes who gave their lives for the achievement of freedom from tyranny.
Is the Bastille Day a national holiday?
Since the Bastille Day is a public holiday in France, most government offices, businesses, banks, and post offices are closed. Cafes and restaurants outside tourist areas are also closed. But still, railway stations, major highways, and airports are open.
How is public transportation during Bastille Day?
Public transport service schedules depend on the area. Most roads in villages, cities, and towns are closed to make way for the parades and other public events.
The Bastille is a known medieval fortress and prison in Paris. During the Bourbon monarchy of the late 1700s, the fortress became associated with cruelty. On July 14, 1789, troops of the French revolutionists stormed into the Bastille. This was a significant moment that catalyzed the French revolution. The Fete de la Federation was held on July 14, 1790, which was their way of celebrating the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in France.
How did the Bastille Day Start?
On June 30, 1878, official celebrations commemorating the day and honoring the Republic of France was held in Paris. On July 14, 1979, celebrations continued to be mainstream. There were military reviews near Paris. In 1880, a politician named Benjamin Raspail proposed for July 14 to become a national holiday in France. On July 6, 1880, the law was enacted. The official Bastille Day was held for the first time on July 14, 1880.
Why are parades done during Bastille Day?
Military parades in Paris were held every year during Bastille Day since 1880, with the exception of the World War II. Parades have become staple activities or traditions that will always be there during the Bastille Day. Even up until now, military parades are showcased during the Bastille Day.
Where is Bastille Day celebrated?
Obviously, since the Bastille Day commemorates one of the most significant breakthroughs of the French revolution, it is primarily held in France. However, various events that commemorate the day are also held in the United States which include Milwaukee, New York, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Seattle, and Philadelphia. Festivals commemorating the day are also held in Hungary, South Africa, and Franschhoek.
As mentioned earlier, the Bastille Day is always held every 14th of July each year in France.
Traditions and Customs of Bastille Day
- Military Parade: The Bastille Day military parade is held on the Champs-Élysées in Paris and features soldiers, tanks, and other military equipment.
- Fireworks: Fireworks displays are a traditional part of Bastille Day celebrations, with many cities and towns across France holding their own displays.
- Feast and Celebration: Bastille Day is a time for celebration, with many people enjoying feasts and parties with family and friends.
- Flag Raising Ceremony: The French flag is raised in ceremonies across the country on Bastille Day, symbolizing the birth of the French Republic.
- Dances and Music: Many cities and towns host dances and concerts on Bastille Day, with traditional French music and dancing.
Celebrate on Social Media
You can also take your celebration of this day on social media. You can, for instance, use the hashtag #BastilleDay to let your friends and followers know that you are also participating in the celebration of this important day.
Messages and Greetings
- Freedom comes with a price and brings along great responsibilities. French have paid the cost of freedom and we also understand the importance of it. Sending you best wishes on Bastille Day.
- Let us make Bastille Day celebrations more fun and sparkling by coming together and make it the best time of the year. Wishing you all a very warm and Happy Bastille Day… Vive la France!!!!
- France is the land of human rights and freedom…. It was attacked by Islamic fundamentalism and it saved the honour of its country and fought for its freedom looking in the eyes of the enemy. Warm wishes on Bastille Day to all the Frenchmen.
- France is the country of happiness and glory. a nation known for its spirit and liveliness…. A nation which believes in equality. Best wishes to you on the most significant day. Happy Bastille Day my dear!
- In France, there is a popular saying “ Joie de vivre” which means looking at your life as if it is something that is to be embraced with utmost pleasure and enjoy it to the fullest…. Happy Bastille Day to the happy people of France.
- The right approach to work is to never give up, just like our men never gave up to get independence… Warm wishes on French Independence Day to all our employees.
- On the special day of French Independence Day, we wish all our employees memorable and happy celebrations with your loved ones.
- Wishing a very Happy French Independence Day to our clients. Let us work in synergy to contribute to our nation’s growth and success.
- Happy French Independence Day to our clients…. May you enjoy the best of celebrations on this auspicious occasion
- Wishing a very Happy French Independence Day to you my dear…. Celebrate this special occasion with fantastic parades to enjoy!!!
- Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains or slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take but as for me; give me liberty or give me death!”– Patrick Henry
- “The most glorious moments in your life are not the so-called days of success, but rather those days when out of dejection and despair you feel rise in you a challenge to life, and the promise of future accomplishments.” -Gustave Flaubert
- No dictator, no invader, can hold an imprisoned population by force of arms forever. There is no greater power in the universe than the need for freedom. Against that power, governments and tyrants and armies cannot stand.”- J. Michael Straczynski
- “Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.” -Voltaire
- “One should respect public opinion insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny.” – Bertrand Russell
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why is Bastille Day Celebrated?
Bastille Day is celebrated to commemorate the storming of the Bastille and the beginning of the French Revolution. It is a celebration of French culture, heritage, and the birth of the French Republic.
How is Bastille Day Celebrated in France?
Bastille Day is celebrated throughout France with parades, fireworks, and other festivities. The largest celebration takes place in Paris, where a military parade is held on the Champs-Élysées and fireworks are set off over the Eiffel Tower.
What is the significance of the Military Parade?
The Bastille Day military parade is a tradition that dates back to the 19th century. It is a display of France’s military power and a celebration of the country’s independence and strength. It showcases the latest military technology, including tanks, planes, and soldiers in their full regalia. It is also an opportunity to honor French soldiers who have served their country.
What is the meaning behind the fireworks?
Fireworks have been a traditional part of Bastille Day celebrations since the 1880s. They symbolize the excitement and energy of the French Revolution, as well as the country’s enduring spirit of liberty and freedom.
How is Bastille Day celebrated outside of France?
Bastille Day is celebrated in many countries around the world, particularly those with French communities or historical connections to France. In the United States, for example, cities like New Orleans and San Francisco hold their own Bastille Day celebrations with parades, music, and food. In Canada, the holiday is known as “La Fête Nationale” and is celebrated with events like concerts and fireworks. In Australia, Bastille Day is marked with French-themed parties and dinners.
Bastille Day is an important holiday that celebrates French culture, heritage, and the birth of the French Republic. It is a time for celebration, reflection, and remembrance of the events that shaped France’s history. Whether you are in France or abroad, there are many ways to join in the festivities and honor this important day. From military parades and fireworks displays to feasts and parties with friends and family, Bastille Day is a time to come together and celebrate the spirit of liberty and freedom that defines French culture.
Here are some references used in the article:
- “Bastille Day: History and Traditions.” History.com. https://www.history.com/topics/france/bastille-day.
- “Bastille Day in France.” Time and Date. https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/france/bastille-day.
- “Bastille Day Celebrations Around the World.” Frenchly. https://frenchly.us/bastille-day-celebrations-around-the-world/.
- “Bastille Day: What is it and How is it Celebrated?” BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-44858281.
- “What is Bastille Day? 7 Facts About the French Holiday.” National Geographic. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/2020/07/what-is-bastille-day-history-facts/.
- “Bastille Day.” France.fr. https://www.france.fr/en/celebrate/bastille-day-july-14th.