Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Happy Bastille Day
Every country has it's celebration, for France it's Bastille Day (image above from here), July 14th, the French also call it La Fête Nationale, us American Francophile's fondly use: "Quatorze Juillet".
Image of the Bastille from here.
Info from Wikipedia:
It commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789; the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison was seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern nation, and of the reconciliation of all the French inside the constitutional monarchy which preceded the First Republic, during the French Revolution. Festivities are held on the morning of 14 July, on the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris in front of the President of the Republic.
La Fête de la Fédération was a huge feast and official event to celebrate the uprising of the short-lived constitutional monarchy in France and what people considered the happy conclusion of the French Revolution.
Typically after the parade, the President, currently Nicolas Sarkozy (he and his wife Carla Bruni photo above from here) hold a party in the gardens of Élysée Palace his private residence and official workplace. Image from here.
Their flag (image from here), known as the Tricolore, flies above his residence when he is in the country.
Info from Wikipedia:
Blue and red are the traditional colors of Paris, used on the city's coat of arms. Blue is identified with Saint Martin, red with Saint Denis. At the storming of the Bastille in 1789, the Paris militia wore blue and red cockades on their hats. White had long featured prominently on French flags and is described as the "ancient French colour" by Lafayette. White was added to the "revolutionary" colors of the militia cockade to "nationalize" the design, thus creating the tricolor cockade. Although Lafayette identified the white stripe with the nation, other accounts identify it with the monarchy. Lafayette denied that the flag contains any reference to the red-and-white livery of the Duc d'Orleans. However, this myth did allow Orleanists to adopt the tricolor as their own.
Lafayette's tricolor cockade was adopted in July 1789, a moment of national unity that soon faded. Royalists began wearing white cockades and flying white flags, while the Jacobins, and later the Socialists, flew the red flag. The tricolor, which combines royalist white with republican red, came to be seen as a symbol of moderation and of a nationalism that transcended factionalism.
Being a french-speaker I couldn't pass up the opportunity to give any non-francophile's a little insight into the history and culture of the beautiful country of France.
I will be eating quiche and drinking champage today in celebration!
Vive la France!