Saint Barthélemy observes Armistice Day every November 11 to commemorate the agreement that ended the fighting on the Western Front during World War I. The armistice, which took effect on the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month,” was signed by representatives of Germany and the Allied powers at 5:45 a.m. in Compiègne, France. Global commemorations marked the event’s centenary on November 11, 2018, when 60 heads of state and government gathered at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
History of Armistice Day (Saint Barthelemy)
The first commemoration of Armistice Day occurred in Buckingham Palace, where King George V held a “Banquet in Honor of the President of the French Republic” on November 10, 1919. The next morning, the first Armistice Day celebrations happened on the palace grounds. A two-minute silence was observed to remember those who died in the war.
Similar ceremonies happened in other countries after World War I. In the late 1920s in South Africa, the Memorable Order of Tin Hats established a ceremony involving a silent toast to “Fallen Comrades” illuminated only by the “Light of Remembrance.” The ritual concludes with the Order’s anthem, ‘Old Soldiers Never Die.’ In the United Kingdom, two minutes of silence is observed at 11 a.m., and poppy bouquets are frequently placed at war memorials across the country. In 1939, the two-minute silence in Britain was moved to the Sunday closest to November 11 to avoid interfering with wartime productions should the holiday fall on a weekday.
Following the end of World War II, most Commonwealth states followed Canada’s lead and adopted Remembrance Day. Other countries, including the United States, chose to rename the holiday Veterans Day to honor military veterans from all conflicts. Many of these commemorations are accompanied by a trumpet piece known as ‘The Last Post’ or gun salutes.
Armistice Day (Saint Barthelemy) timeline
Columbus names the island of Saint Barthélemy after his younger brother, Bartholomew.
Around 50 or 60 French settlers begin colonizing the region.
Slavery is legalized in the territory following the promulgation of the 1787 ‘Ordinance concerning the Police of Slaves and free Coloured People.’
On October 9, the state frees the last legally owned enslaved people in St. Barthélemy, a Swedish colony.
Armistice Day (Saint Barthelemy) FAQs
Why is Armistice Day so significant?
Armistice Day commemorates the end of World War I and honors millions of soldiers and civilians who died in the conflict from 1914 to 1918.
Who won World War I and who lost?
The Allies, including France, Great Britain, Russia, Italy, and the United States, defeated the Central Powers, composed of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey.
Why do the British wear poppies?
Poppies are used to remember those who died in battle because they are the flowers that grew on the battlefields after World War I ended.
How to Observe Armistice Day (Saint Barthelemy)
Travel to Saint Barthélemy
Visit the French collectivity with your family to witness the Armistice Day celebrations. Join the locals as they honor their loved ones who gave their lives for peace and freedom.
Research the island
Learn about Saint Barthélemy and how World War I affected it to understand the holiday’s significance better. Share your newfound knowledge with your friends!
Participate in the remembrances
Join locals as they make poppy bouquets and flower wreaths to place on memorial sites. Observe the two-minute silence to show your respect for the war veterans and victims.
5 Interesting Facts About Saint Barthélemy
Locals speak French
Saint Barthélemy’s official language is French.
It’s a volcanic island
St. Barthélemy was formed following a volcanic eruption.
It had another name
The Arawaks, the island’s original inhabitants, referred to the island as ‘Ouanalao.’
Its flag is symbolic
The flag features a lily, signifying its association with France, and a crown, alluding to its history as a Swedish colony.
France sold it to Sweden
The island’s largest town was named Gustavia after the Swedish King Gustav III after the French sold the island to Sweden in 1784.
Why Armistice Day (Saint Barthelemy) is Important
It emphasizes history
Armistice Day reminds us about humanity’s dark past. Remembering World War I and its effects allows us to avoid making the same mistakes.
It unites the locals
Every year, Saint Barthélemy residents gather to honor the fallen. They offer flower arrangements and visit significant monuments.
It honors the fallen
Although Armistice Day specifically commemorates the day the 1918 armistice was signed, the holiday also celebrates veterans from other wars and conflicts. On this day, we acknowledge everyone who has fought for peace.
Armistice Day (Saint Barthelemy) dates