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Bastille Day

The French Independence Day is Bastille Day, July 14. It's called that because it celebrates the storming of the Bastille, a famous prison, during the French Revolution, in 1789.
Bastille Day is a National holiday in France. It is very much like Independence Day in the United States because it is a celebration of the beginning of a new form of government. Just as the people in the United States celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence as the beginning of the American Revolution, so the people in France celebrate the storming of the Bastille as the beginning of the French Revolution. Both Revolutions brought great changes. Kings and queens no longer rule. The people rule themselves and make their own decisions. France at that time was ruled by King Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette. It was an absolute monarchy, meaning that whatever the king and queen wanted, they got. It didn't matter whether the people were starving in the streets, so long as the royal banquet tables were full. The legacy of the Revolution, one nation, a voluntary union that embodies the principles of human rights and national sovereignty, is beautifully evoked in the French national anthem, the "Marseillaise," composed in 1792 by Rouget de Lisle. Bastille Day was declared a national holiday in France in 1880. Today, this holiday, rooted in the history of the birth of the Republic, is marked in France by a solemn parade down the Champs-Elysees, an elaborate fireworks display at Montmartre, public dances, and general merrymaking. Wherever you are in France, there will be a celebration. With the taking of this prison, the movement to replace a two-person government with a representative government began. Bastille Day was proclaimed a French national holiday in 1880 and in 1848 the motto "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" was reinstated. An annual celebration of their independence, Bastille Day is generally celebrated with an impressive parade up the Champs Elysées, festivals, parties and fireworks. For the peasant class, the Bastille stood as a symbol of the hypocrisy and corruption of the aristocratic government - controlled mostly by nobility and clergy. This important event marked the entry of the popular class into the French Revolution. The French recognize Bastille Day as the end of the monarchy and beginning of the modern republic. The lasting significance of the event was in its recognition that power could be held by ordinary citizens, not in the King or in God.


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