What is Bastille Day? History, Importance, Traditions of French National Day

French National Day/French Independence Day History, Importance, Traditions and Culture of Bastille Day : Bastille Day is a beautiful day of importance for the people in France. Also called as French Independence day (or) French National Day (or) Bastille festival. Every year, July 14 is celebrated as Bastille Day be all the people in France. Also, some celebrations can also be seen in cities like New York and Paris. Bastille Day has it's own interesting History, a very good Importance in France and also has wonderful Traditions.

The name 'Bastille Day' is given to all the English speaking countries for French National day. The other names/original names for Bastille Day in France are :
  • French National Day
  • French Independence Day
  • Fete Nationale France
  • La fete Nationale
  • Quatorze Julliet and other names

What is Bastille Day ?

Bastille Day Parade, French Parade for Bastille Day
Militants parading for Bastille Day in France among Citizens
As the name suggests, Bastille Day is an event celebrated in the happiness of Freedom and Independence of the French citizens. The day is celebrated to represent and symbolize Peace prospects in the nation. 14th July, 1878 is the day of origin for Bastille Day because the celebrations and a National Holiday for Bastille Day were approved in 1878, 89 years after the Storming of Bastille happened.

History and Origin :

The history and origin for 'la fete nationale' are different. The history represents the 'storming of Bastille' as an historic event but Bastille day is a feast/celebration that has been commenced after the storming. This is the reason Bastille Day has been made as a festival rather than a Memorial day. 

Before 14th July, 1878, a pre-feast on 30 June, 1878 has been arranged for the people of France which is called 'Claude Monet' and again on 14th July, 1878 a semi-feast has been arranged in the memory of abolishing of 'Fuedalism' in the French nations.

Storming the Bastille {Event} :

Storming of Bastille, Bastille Day Storming, July 14 1979 Storming of Bastille
A painting of Storming of Bastille on July 14, 1979
In 1789, King Louis XVI was reigning the France area and there used to be an area named 'Bastille' which is sort of a French prison that resembled a fortress. Bastille was used to jail the prisoners who opposed the royal decree or punish the prisoners inside Bastille. This did not go well with the public of that time. Bastille was also used as a storage spot for a lot of ammunition and people feared that this will be used against them. So, an attack was planned and many citizens stormed into Bastille in July 1789. Much of the crowd was controlled by the French guards and Governor De Launay (Bastille commander) feared that this fight will lead to a massacre between citizens and guards of Bastille and opened the gates to Bastille. A rampant crowd stormed into Bastille eventually burning and ruining the whole fortress.

About 200-250 attackers and Seven members of the royal Government were killed in the Bastille massacre.

Importance :

Due to the storming of Bastille, a very heated and disciplined argument raised in the assembly of the French Royal Government and the final decision to abolish 'Fuedalism' in the country has been taken.

On 26th August, Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (D├ęclaration des Droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen)  has been declared and France was set to develop as a free country with constitution.

Traditions :

Bastille Day is similar to Patrick's Day (or) Memorial Day where all the traditions are made to remind us of the History and the greatness of it.

Bastille Day is celebrated with Parades and Fireworks. Bastille Day is also celebrated all over the world where there is French Influence. Some of the Bastille Day Traditions are :
  • Parades in New York, Paris, France
  • The Government approving a market place that will have French food and Wine
  • In India, Bastille Day is celebrated in Pondicherry (Puducherry) by Retired French Marshalls by parading in the streets wearing their uniform
  • Many places in the world host French Food Festivals.
  • Music concerts are also a part of Bastille Day traditions and celebrations


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