What is Bastille Day?

The French celebrate Bastille day today.

So what is it exactly?

Bastille day or la Fête nationale (The National Celebration) commemorates the Storming of the Bastille a pivotal point of the French revolution and the Fête de la Fédération a celebration of unification. The oldest and possibly the largest military parade in Europe is also held on the morning of Bastille day down the Champs-Elysees.

Image: Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile - one of most famous monuments in Paris on French National Day, Shutterstock

As a public holiday, the day is marked by musical performances, large communal feasts, dancing and fireworks.

The Storming of Bastille

As mentioned above Bastille Day remembers the historic Storming of Bastille. The Bastille was a prison where political dissidents were locked up during the French revolution. The people of France were unhappy. King Louis XVI’s reign had been marked by scores of food shortages and exorbitant tax hikes. After a violent outbreak erupted on the streets, a mob armed with weapons stormed the Bastille on the morning of July 14th.

Word spread of the attack on the bastille and thus the French revolution was born. The monarchy was overthrown and Louis and his wife Marie Antoinette were executed.

Fête de la Fédération

One year after the Storming of the Bastille, the French began celebrating the Fête de la Fédération. The day was to symbolise peace and brotherhood during the revolution. In that same year, feudalism was abolished and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizen was installed to protect freedom of speech and fair political representation.

Image: Eiffel Tower, Bastille Day, Shutterstock

Header: The Storming of Bastille, Shutterstock

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