Saint Martin commemorates Bastille Day on July 14. It is one of the most memorable days in French history and honors the French Revolution’s impact and the birth of the country’s representative democracy. French societies host marches, markets, dance parties, and firework displays for this major public holiday. The events occur in most parts of the country and around the globe. Read on to learn more about the history of Bastille Day.
History of Bastille day (Saint Martin)
The Bastille was a medieval fort and prison in Paris. It was widely associated with the French Bourbon monarchy’s harsh rule in the late 1700s. By 1789, crop failures, food shortages, economic stagnation, and political turmoil had worn down the French. There was no such thing as national citizenship, and everyone was a subject of King Louis XVI, who had amassed enormous debt and heavily taxed citizens to pay it off. In addition, the people accused his queen, Marie Antoinette, of lavish spending and scandalous behavior. The king agreed to call the Estates General, a type of national assembly and parliament with no real power. However, Louis XVI militarized Paris, signaling his intention to repress the assembly and maintain control over the people. Consequently, revolutionary troops invaded the Bastille on July 14, 1789, a watershed moment that started the French Revolution.
Bastille Day commemorates France’s establishment of a constitutional monarchy. In 1880, politician Benjamin Raspail proposed that July 14 be declared a French national holiday. On July 6, 1880, the law was passed, and eight days later, Bastille Day became a public holiday for the first time. Since then, a military parade has been held yearly, except during World War II. From 1940 to 1944, the Free French Forces spent Bastille Day parading through London, England. France held a special celebration for the French Revolution’s 200th anniversary in 1989.
Paris’ Eiffel Tower and the French national flag are significant Bastille Day symbols. The latter, known as the ‘tricolor,’ is composed of three equal-width vertical bands in red, blue, and white. On Bastille Day, the colors are featured in buntings and banners of various shapes and worn on clothing or as face paint. The Bastille Day celebrations are also carried out in Saint Martin, a French community in the Caribbean.
Bastille day (Saint Martin) timeline
The French people fight against the reign of King Louis XVI.
On July 14, the first ‘Fête de la Fédération,’ or Festival of the Federation, is held.
Following the approval of Benjamin Raspail’s law, French citizens observe the first official Bastille Day celebration.
Military units from European countries join the Bastille Day parade in Paris.
Bastille day (Saint Martin) FAQs
What do the French do on Bastille Day?
Bastille Day celebrations are extensive in Paris and the rest of France. The annual military parade on Avenue des Champs-Élysées begins at the Arc de Triomphe and concludes at the Place de la Concorde.
Do the French say “Happy Bastille Day?”
You’ll never hear “Happy Bastille Day” in the country because they don’t call it “Bastille Day.” Instead, you’ll hear “Bonne fête nationale!”
What is eaten on Bastille Day?
There are no specific Bastille Day dishes, but don’t let that stop you from indulging in French cuisine. Have a decadent breakfast of pastries, brioche, crepes, or croissants, and follow it up with quiche, pâté, or onion soup for lunch.
How to Observe Bastille day (Saint Martin)
Attend the parade
Visit Saint Martin to understand why this event is so popular. Nothing beats soaking in the atmosphere and making memories with your family and friends.
Throw your own party
This Bastille Day, host a French-themed party. If you’re not into cliches and stereotypes, you can have a more authentic experience by serving what Saint Martin locals drink.
Watch a documentary
If reading isn’t your thing, watch a documentary about the French Revolution! Spend some time learning about the wars, treaties, and shifting borders that arose after the French Revolution.
5 Interesting Facts About The Bastille
It isn’t called ‘Bastille Day’ in France
The nation officially refers to it as ‘fête nationale,’ or ‘national holiday.’
The Bastille was a prison
In 1417, the Bastille became a prison for anyone who crossed the king.
It’s Europe’s oldest parade
The Bastille Day parade is Europe’s oldest and most prominent annual military parade.
It wasn’t always a national holiday
Bastille Day was only declared an official national holiday 91 years after the 1789 revolution.
The prison was nearly empty
When revolutionaries stormed the Bastille in 1789, they found that it held only seven prisoners.
Why Bastille day (Saint Martin) is Important
It represents liberty
Bastille Day represents freedom from subjugation. By storming the Bastille, French commoners ensured that their voices would be heard and that they desired independence from the long-dominant feudal system.
It unites the global community
Various countries have begun their own Bastille Day celebrations. They frequently start in neighborhoods with sizable French immigrant populations.
It’s a chance to learn about the Bastille
The holiday has a significant history. Bastille Day is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the prison and the events that led up to its storming.
Bastille day (Saint Martin) dates