Today (July 14) is the National Day of France: La Fête National, or Bastille Day.
France actually celebrates two separate events on this date: the 14 July 1789 storming of the Bastille, a fortress-prison in Paris, which marked a turning point in the French revolution, and the “Fête de la Fédération”, which happened a year later on 14 July 1790.
On the first anniversary of the storming of Bastille, people gathered to celebrate peace, and the unity of the French people throughout the Revolution.
Almost a 100 years later in 1880, the country officially adopted the 14th of July as its national day, to honour the French Republic.
The ceremony and celebrations have changed a little throughout the years, though the main event is always the military parade. This year, the government has scaled back the parade due to the coronavirus — but it has not been cancelled.
Since 1919 it has been held on the Champs-Élysées, and often involves the participation of France’s close allies.
Other cities mark the day with dances and fireworks. As a bank holiday in the middle of July, it’s very popular! It is a great occasion to gather with friends and family, and socialise.
This year, Bastille Day will also honour the people mobilised against coronavirus, including military troops, care workers, doctors and nurses.
If you want to watch the celebrations live, click here.
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