By Catherine Rush Thompson
Bastille Day, the French national holiday celebrated annually on July 14th (le quatorze juillet), marks the birth of the French Republic. This holiday is named after the Bastille fortress, an important symbol for the French Republican movement. While the Bastille fortress, built in 1357, was originally designed to strategically keep invading armies from England out of Paris during the Hundred Years’ War, it evolved into an edifice for political prisoners in the 1700s. Under the reign of King Louis XVI the French people were suffering from high taxes to cover his debt, food shortages, and limited representation in government. After many years of misrule by the Monarchy, the French people united to free the political prisoners and to rise against their government. July 14, 1789, marks the date of the violent uprising that helped usher in the French Revolution.
Another symbol of the French Revolution is the tricolor flag, believed by some to represent the causes of the revolution: liberté (freedom/blue), égalité (equality/white), and fraternité (brotherhood/red).
Prior to the French Revolution the French flag honored the Monarchy and featured the early coat of arms of the French kings in the early 1200s (a blue crest decorated with gold fleurs-de-lis) and the standard of the Bourbon family (a white backdrop with gold fleurs-de-lis).
Bastille Day is celebrated all around the world. The National Geographic illustrates unique Bastille Day celebrations from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands to Franschhoek, South Africa in its article, 9 Bastille Day bashes that celebrate French culture: Parades, fireworks, and food honor the historic holiday that shaped modern France - (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/lists/seasonal/experience-french-culture-at-these-bastille-day-celebrations/).
Whether you have French heritage, are a Francophile, or seek a unique way to enjoy French culture, here are 10 fun ways to celebrate this year’s Bastille Day from the comfort of your own home:
Best Wishes for a Fun Bastille Day Celebration!
French Revolution: https://www.history.com/topics/france/french-revolution
The Fascinating History Behind the French Flag: https://theculturetrip.com/europe/france/articles/fascinating-history-behind-french-flag/
14 Revolutionary Facts About Bastille Day: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/82401/14-revolutionary-facts-about-bastille-day
France's Striped Shirt and Beret: Origins of a Stereotype: https://www.thoughtco.com/french-striped-shirt-beret-origins-stereotype-1368581
Food Critics: The Best French Food In Kansas City: https://www.kcur.org/arts-life/2018-04-27/food-critics-the-best-french-food-in-kansas-city
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