Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Quatorze Julliet - What is Bastille Day?

Dont forget - if you're new to this event - register here
History was never my strong point, but festivities are appealing to me. So I've come to remember when and how to celebrate special events - like my Indian villages way of celebrating Diwali - and how my German relatives celebrate Christmas. I welcome these events into my life, here in the Down Under... And Bastille Day is the way to celebrate the essence of the French. But How do they celebrate and what does it mean anyway?

As I am not the historian, I am not going to attempt to provide my own answer - but I've drawn a few posts from previous Paris in July events that do tell the story in different ways.
Shared by Recollections of a Vagabonde in 2014
The first post I draw your attention to is from Recollections of a Vagabonde who has always provided in depth analysis and insights in her posts. She notes
The people of France celebrate equality, solidarity and social gains obtained from the start and since the Revolution and the symbolic taking of the Bastille.  The 14th of July is a traditional national holiday with fireworks and dancing in the streets.
In another post by the same blogger (in 2009) highlights the importance of the declaration of Human Rights to the French.
The absolute French monarchy fell when the Bastille fell. On 26 August 1789 the new aspirations of the French Republic were defined by the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen”– which inspired the values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 by the United Nations - read it here if you wish
 Sim, who's just joined Paris in July this year, has just posted this wonderful memory of a Bastille Day when she was in Paris.  She notes this about the event she witnessed
It wasn't just any 14th of July, no ordinary Bastille Day. It was the 200th anniversary of the 1789 Storming of the Bastille. The fact that only a handful of prisoners (seven actually) were housed there—none of whom were political prisoners— and were freed from the dreaded Bastille that day isn't the point. Nor that Robespierre's Reign of Terror would follow shortly thereafter. This was the beginning of the French Revolution. And that summer of 1989, the bicentennial of that event was a very big deal.
Louise, at a Strong Belief in Wicker, posted as parted of Paris in July in 2013, some of her photo's of her experience of Bastille Day also. She asked
  • Are there more flags about this week with Bastille Day looming, or did I just notice them more?
I did my own post about Bastille Day in 2012 - with photo's from the dinner I had attended that year.
Also, last year in Paris in July, I interviewed a Real French Chef, and I asked Didier how he celebrated the occasion. What would you cook on Bastille Day? what does the average family cook on Bastille Day?
  • How about a barbecue? Inspired by the U.S., my second country (by adoption), firing up the grill and getting together with friends and family for all kinds of grilled meat, fish and veggies is the way to go! If the weather cooperates on that day, French people love being outside: summer drinks, fresh salads and vegetables, gorgeous summer fruit for dessert (cherries, apricot, peaches, strawberries…) and a few scoops of ice cream topped with loads of freshly made vanilla whipped cream!
 Last year we had the please of Adria, and author from Paris, joining us for the Paris in July event. Adria post this about the Fete Nationale.
  • Of my favorite Bastille Days, are the ones perched on a terrace of our friends’ apartment with a view of fireworks displays surrounding the city. Colors popping to life, illuminating the sky… and the Eiffel Tower reigning as a small jewel amidst it all.
Vicki, also of Paris, who joined us last year, posted about Bastille Day, which some interesting experiences of her own.
  • My favorite is the air show in Paris, where jets and fighter planes from the French military zoom surprisingly low across the Parisian skyline. It's a fascinating glimpse into France's air fleet and it amazes me how low they fly, right through the city. Post-9/11, that just doesn't happen in the US.
  • I work in La Défense, the business district of Paris stacked with skyscrapers. Last year, the loud whoosh of the jets interrupted one of my meetings, as my colleagues and I ran to the windows to watch the planes do their practice runs. From our angle, the wings nearly clipped the buildings
So, how do you celebrate such an incredible moment in history? Especially when you're in a totally different country?

Here's my 5 things to do for Bastille Day... (when you're not in France)

  1.  Do something that supports equality and fairness - make a donation to Amnesty International! or Support my Indian Charity...
  2. Find fireworks somewhere - or even better have a glass of your favourite bubbles - they'll feel like fireworks on the inside!
  3. Find something colourful that reminds you of the nature of this colourful nation and their strong commitment to social gains.
  4. Ask a french person what the day means to them - find a french person..
  5. Make your own little tradition for Bastille Day or Quatorze Julliet.
Here's my something colourful - it's with me at work and reminds me of all sorts of wonderful things french!


Ally said...

Vive la France! Moi, I will cook once more "pain perdu" read some pages from Foenkinos'book "Lennon" and maybe watch a few minutes of "Belle de Jour" :)

Louise said...

What a great post Tamara. Naturally I've been thinking about Paris and Bastille Day today. I celebrated in a rather low key way at home in Australia. I went to a French lesson, am currently up late watching the tour, and we had a chocolat chaud tonight to help keep the chill away. Of course I managed to knock out a rather impromptu post, but looked back at my Bastille Day experiences in Paris.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Love the mug!

Jeanie said...

Great post, tamara -- wonderful links and connections, good history. I like your list of five things and am extremely fond of that wonderful mug you have, one of the nicest I've seen!

Vive la France!

Sharon said...

Great post and I love that coffee cup!

Christine Harding said...

That's a lovely post, with some wonderful links, which help clear my head a little on French history! However, I've confused myself about where I'm supposed to be linking... Post Number Two up on the blog, but whwre do I link?

Paulita said...

I love your colorful mug to celebrate Fete National. I have another Dreaming of France post today. Here’s my Dreaming of France meme