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What is Bastille Day?

Posted by Kathie Argyros. Owner of French Cargo. on

What is Bastille Day and why is it celebrated in France?

14th of July is a National Holiday every year in France, to celebrate the French Revolutionary mob breaking into an 18th century Parisian Prison, the Bastille.

Similar to the United State's 4th of July, the date marks the beginning of republican democracy and the end of tyrannical rule.

Here's everything you need to know about France's national day and why it is still celebrated.

What was the Storming of the Bastille?

It took place on July 14 1789 amid a deep economic and political crisis, with an out-of-touch Louis XVI increasingly unable to manage anti-monarchist forces.

(King Loui XVI, Source: www.biography.com)

The Bastille, a medieval fortress and prison, was a symbol of tyrannical Bourbon authority in central Paris and had held many political dissidents.

After hours of negotiation and increasing frustration, the mob numbering just under 1,000 broke into the fortress.

Following hours of fighting, they took the castle at the cost of nearly 100 assailants' lives and one defender's.

(Storming of the Bastille, Image Source: Wikipedia)

What is its significance?

It became the flash point for the revolution to spread and eventually lead to the overthrow of the Bourbon monarchy and the execution of Louis XVI and his wife Queen Marie Antoinette.

The prison was completely destroyed within five months and only a monument now stands on the site in the middle of a cobbled square.

Why do French people celebrate it today?

The French celebrate all things that symbolise France, such the tricolore French flag and La Marseillaise (national anthem) - both of which originate from the revolution.

Rather than commemorating the storming of the Bastille itself, it is a day to celebrate the three tenets of the republican national motto: "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity".

Patriotic pride rather than political history is the order of the day.

(Bastille Day Celebrations, Image Source: culturalawareness.com)

How is it celebrated?

A public holiday in France, the day is celebrated with an abundance of fireworks, communal eating and parades.

Along the historic Champs-Elysee Avenue, a military parade takes place where French troops march, ride and drive with world leaders in attendance.

It is the oldest military parade in the world, having first taken place on Bastille Day in 1880.

“Vive le France”

Original Article Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/ba...