Bastille Day

Bastille Day in France

Bastille Day is a special day being celebrated in the French culture in which many large scale public events are being held, including the military parade in Paris, dances, communal meals, parties and fireworks. There’s also the musical performance.

People in France celebrate this occasion as an honor to the French Republic , considering this as a public holiday. Bastille Day is being celebrated or commemorated every 14th of July. What we can expect to see here will be the military and civilian parades, communal meals, musical performances, balls, dances and firework displays.

Military Parade in Bastille Day
Military Parade in Bastille Day

The military parade in Paris is being held in the morning of July 14 where service men and women from various units, including cadets from military schools, the French Navy and French Foreign Legion participate in the said parade, ending with the Paris Fire Brigade. Military air crafts fly over the parade route. The French president opens the parade and reviews the troops and thousands of people which line the route while other people spend this day quietly and eat meals or have picnic with family and close friends in celebration.

During this said event, post offices, banks, and many businesses in France are closed, in honor of this public holiday. There are also some of restaurants and cafes outside of tourist areas that may be closed, except for bakeries and some stores in Paris, as well as at the airports and railway stations, even along major highways. Along with this, public transport services may vary depending on where a resident lives and where he or she intends to travel and roads in the center of villages, towns and cities may be closed for parades and other large public events.

But what really is the significance or importance of celebrating this event? And what’s the background or story behind the Bastille Day?

The Storming of Bastille (July 14, 1789)
The Storming of Bastille (July 14, 1789)

Bastille is known to be a medieval fortress and prison in Paris, France where its people associate this with the harsh rule of the Bourbon monarchy in the late 1700s. The troops stormed the Bastille on the 14th of July 1789 and this was considered as a pivotal event for the French Revolution. On the 14th of July 1790, Fete de la Federation was held as a way of celebrating the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in France.

There were official celebrations being held in Paris on June 30, 1878 as a way of honoring the Republic of France and on the 14th of July 1789, more official celebrations were being held, including a military review in Longchamp near Paris and celebrations all over France. Benjamin Raspail, a politician, proposed that July 14, should be considered as a public holiday for France in 1880, whose law is being enacted on July 6, 1880, hence marking Bastille Day as the country’s public holiday for the first time in the year 1880.

Military parade in Paris is being held every year since 1880, except when World War II took place. There were Free French Forces who paraded on this date in London, England from the year 1940 until 1944. Jean Michel Jarre also once held a concert in Paris, attracting one million people, which was then the largest recorded crowd at an outdoor concert in 1979. Adding to this, special celebrations were also being held for the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution in 1989, as well as the championship of the French football team on July 12, 1998.

This special event is being held in French communities and the Institut de France around the world, where United States, Franschhoek, South Africa and Hungary even participated.

What symbolizes this special day?

There are two important symbols in commemorating this said event: Eiffel Tower and the tri-color flag/French national flag. This French national flag is one and a half times as wide as it is tall, consisting of three vertical bands of equal width colored blue, white and red. These same colors are being displayed in buntings and banners of many shapes on Bastille Day and we can also see people wear clothing or face paint in these colors.

Image Sources:

Image Sources:

Bastille Day in Paris

Military Parade in Bastille Day

The Storming of Bastille (July 14, 1789)

Eiffel Tower in Bastille Day

Tricolor Flag of France







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