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Fete de la Federation – July 14, 2023

Fete de la Federation was a massive festival celebrated on July 14, honoring the French Revolution. The day was the predecessor of Bastille Day, as celebrated today. The point of the festival was to celebrate both the Revolution and the spirit of National Unity. At the time, the Revolution had overthrown the excesses of the French monarchy and replaced it with a constitutional monarchy, led by an elected National assembly. The Fete de la Federation was organized to coincide with the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille. The festival came at a time when people believed that the revolution was over, though turmoil would follow in the coming years.

History of Fete de la Federation

The French Revolution began in 1789 with that year’s Estates-General. The abolition of the reigning ‘Ancien Régime’ or Old Regime began on July 14, 1789, when a crowd of protesters stormed the Bastille prison. By 1790, the monarchy had been overthrown and a National Assembly was elected. Believing the Revolution to be over, a desire to celebrate national unity spread across the French people. The festival in Paris was to be the most prominent celebration of fraternity — it was to be attended by the royal family, the deputies of the National Assembly, and the general public. The event was organized on the Champ de Mars, which was outside Paris at the time.

The festival began with a feast as early as 4:00 A.M., and it continued to proceed despite downpours throughout the day. A parade of ‘federes’ organized under 83 banners marched their way to the place the Bastille once stood, and the members of the National Assembly, along with Louis XVI, all took an oath to protect the new Nation. The festival was also attended by delegates from countries across the globe. A popular feast followed the official celebration.

Unbeknownst to all those who attended the festivities, the stability that they foresaw was not what they had in store for them. The following years in France were of political turmoil that culminated in the people becoming disillusioned with the monarchy, leading to the execution of the royal family in 1873. Even with the French Republic finally established, peace did not follow. June 1873 saw an uprising that overthrew much of the National Assembly, sparking the Reign of Terror in the nation. The following year saw 16,000 at the hands of the Jacobins. To deal with the oppressive threat of the former, a fragile French Directory was formed, which was soon overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte, marking the end of France’s revolutionary period.

Fete de la Federation timeline

June 13, 1789
Estates General of 1789

The Third Estate forms the National Assembly.

July 14, 1789
Storming of the Bastille

Revolutionaries storm the Bastille prison.

July 14, 1790
Fete de la Federation

The Fete de la Federation is organized to celebrate the French Revolution.

January 1793
Monarch beheaded

Louis XVI is beheaded.

Fete de la Federation FAQs

What is July 14 in France?

It is celebrated as Bastille Day.

When was the French Revolution?

May 5, 1789, to November 9, 1799.

What is the name of the flag of France?

It is called the ‘Tricolore.’

How to Observe Fete de la Federation

  1. Read about the French Revolution

    The French Revolution was a turning point in history. Spend the day reading about it.

  2. Watch a documentary

    If reading isn’t your thing, pop in a documentary about the Revolution! You’re bound to find something entertaining. You can even try a movie or two, like “Les Miserables” or “Marie Antoinette.”

  3. Look up related philosophy

    The French Revolution was built on a foundation of ideas like equality, liberty, and justice. Learn more about these abstractions and what philosophers have said about them.

5 Interesting Facts About France

  1. Tourism

    France is the world’s most popular tourist destination.

  2. National motto

    The national motto of France is “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” or “liberty, equality, fraternity.”

  3. Inventions

    The French invented the hot air balloon!

  4. Highest European mountain

    The tallest mountain in Europe, Mont Blanc, is in France.

  5. Most visited museum

    The Louvre is the world’s most visited museum.

Why Fete de la Federation is Important

  1. It’s an important part of French history

    The French Revolution formed the basis of the modern state of France. Fete de la Federation is an important part of it.

  2. It’s a reminder of humanity

    The French Revolution often entailed sequences of violent events. An earnest celebration of what people thought would be a peaceful regime reminds us of how human everyone in history was.

  3. It’s an opportunity to learn about the French Revolution

    The Revolution is a major part of world history. The Fete de la Federation is a perfect excuse to learn more about it.

Fete de la Federation dates

YearDateDay
2023July 14Friday
2024July 14Sunday
2025July 14Monday
2026July 14Tuesday
2027July 14Wednesday

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