Bastille Day History and Traditions

For all those who love history. For all those who find themselves intrigued by the different aspects of how and why, many of our actions today, are results of something that happened a long time ago. For all those who know the significance of minute details in history, and the way they have shaped the society that we live in today. All these people have undoubtedly read a lot about Bastille Day in France. They obviously know all that can be said about this historic event that took place in France on the 14th of July, 1789. This article will just be a revision of sorts for them. But it will be a revelation to all those who are clueless about Bastille Day history, Bastille Day traditions, and how important this day is! So, for them, here’s an article that will let them know about this day, that is said to have begun the French Revolution. Read on…

What is Bastille Day

To state plainly, Bastille Day is often called one of the primary triggers of the French Revolution. Why did the French Revolution occur? What were the most prominent French Revolution causes? Well, you’ll have to read below to get to know that.

Bastille Day History

If you see the timeline of the French Revolution carefully, you will realize that the storming of the Bastille was actually quite unavoidable. There is only so much oppression that people can handle, and this was proved with this historic event. The Bastille Prison, was seen by the French, as a mark of the authoritarianism of King Louis XVI, and the subjugation that was meted out to the French people, especially, the lower and middle classes. The corruption levels among the clergy, the nobles, and the king, had reached an unbearable peak. All the people wanted, was that the power and wealth of France, be shared among the people, and not be pillaged by the so-called ‘stately’ people. The middle and lower classes had no right to own land. Neither did they have a right to vote. With this extreme and outrageous usurpation, the people decided to take matters into their own hands. Thus dawned the 14th of July, a day that would go down in history, as one of the starting points of the French Revolution.

Storming of the Bastille

As mentioned earlier, the people of France were discomfited with the absolutism that they were being treated with. What they did on the 14th of July, 1789, was one of the bravest, and one of the most important actions, that would transform the history of France, and the world too! A group of peasants, craftsmen, farmers, etc. formed, and they decided to loot weapons from Les Invalides, which is a compound of military buildings. They stole a lot of ammunition, but did not have enough gun powder for it. They knew that the Bastille was a stock-house of arms and ammunition. So, they proceeded towards Bastille, to procure the gunpowder. Bastille prison, though, had only seven prisoners at that moment, was the ultimate symbol of the despotic rule of the King.

Initially, the Governor, Marquis Bernard-Rene de Launay, attempted a negotiation with the mob, but this proved unsuccessful, when the re-enforcements he was awaiting, turned on him, and began to fight with the mob, instead of against them, and stormed the prison, freeing the prisoners, and looting the prison. The governor, was beheaded, and the people began to demolish the prison. This incident scared King Louis XVI, and he, along with his wife, Marie Antoinette fled to Versailles. Thus began the French Revolution, which would lead to the guillotine of Marie Antoinette, the abolishment of the feudal system, and an extremist transformation in the rationale of the governance.

Bastille Day Traditions

Bastille day is a national holiday in France. People gather to watch the parade, on Champs-Élysées. Different dance and costume balls are held in Paris, with different themes. The President of France has a (by invitation only) lunch party and addresses the press. A spectacular display of fireworks at Trocadéro, follows in the evening. Apart from these, people have their own parties and celebrations, with special foods for Bastille Day, like French fries, crêpes, potato coins, wines, crème brulee, etc. They sing songs of the French Revolution, and make merry till the wee hours of the night.

Bastille Day is celebrated not only in France, but also in other parts of the world, like London, Hungary, etc. They commemorate this tremendous event, that molded France into what it is today.