14 July, every year, France celebrates its national day. French call it La FŽte Nationale or Le quatorze juillet, but English-speaking countries prefer Bastille Day. Why Bastille? The beginning of the French Revolution was July 14, 1789, in a fortress named like that located at East Paris. The people of Paris, fearful that they would be attacked by the Royal Army, stormed the Bastille to take all the ammunition and gunpowder they could. A month later, on August 26 the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, was proclaimed.
Bastille Day is a day of celebrations of French culture. The public events held all over the country includes military and civilian parades, musical performances, fireworks, balls, dances and communal meals.
There is a military parade in Paris in the morning of July 14. The French president opens the parade and reviews the troops. Men and women from various units, the French Navy and the French Foreign Legion, participate. The parade ends with the Paris Fire Brigade. Meanwhile, military aircraft fly over the parade route.
Bastille Day is a public holiday in France; therefore banks, post offices, banks and other businesses are closed.
Other parts of the world that have been French colonies or that have some sort of cultural relationship with France, celebrate the Bastille Day too. For example, Pondicherry, in India, was a colony, and celebrates this day with honour and pride. Certain places in Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, New Zealand, South Africa, U.K. and the U.S. have adopted this celebration.
YouÕll probably imagine which are the most important symbols in July 14… Yes! Eiffel Tower and the French national flag, also known as tricolour.
E voila, cÕest tout!
By David Pulido Suarez
Student at CET Services