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Bastille Day - Raise a Toast to Democracy

Posted on 26th May 2013
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Blog Banner for French Costumes and Accessories from Karnival Costumes for Bastille Day

Vive la Revolution. Vive la France it’s time for a party. With the huge popularity of Les Miserables which has enthralled audiences for over 25 years and which this year (2013) has been given another huge boost with the launch of the movie DVD, we believe that this Bastille Day will give rise to the biggest celebrations around Europe.
To the French, July 14th is the most important date in their calendar for it is on that date that they celebrate Bastille Day or as it should more correctly be called; 'Fête Nationale'. To the French nation this is akin to America's Independence Day and it is the day when France celebrates the introduction of a form of government. Bastille Day symbolises the overthrow of the old monarchy and the beginning of the French republic.
So why do people refer to it as Bastille Day, after all, the Bastille was merely a building dating back to 1382. Originally defending the eastern side of Paris from attack, the Bastille was constructed with walls over 80 feet high and originally surrounded by a moat or fosse. Rather, it’s what it came to represent hundreds of years later when the ruling monarchy converted The Bastille into a prison. Soon the Bastille became a hated symbol of the monarchy as was there that the King and his royal government would hold dissidents and other political prisoners without trial. Prisoners were simply sent to the Bastille under the King's orders and only he could decide on and grant pardon and release.
French themed tableware and disposable cutlery in red, white and blue from Karnival CostumesAlthough the storming of the Bastille is seen as being the focal point for the beginning of the French Revolution, the act alone was not sufficient alone for the revolution to start and many historians recognising that the storming was more strategic. The act on July 14th 1789 was the culmination of a backlash against the absolute and arbitrary power of King Louis XVI ancient regime. The French monarchy wasn't just seen as being undemocratic, it also owned the land against which it raised taxes as well as taking rent and consequently the majority of French people were angry and frustrated with the aristocracy not making any concession to adopting a more modern democratically based society.
As a hated symbol and being in the heart of Paris, the Bastille was a perfect target for the protestors. At the end of the day of the actual storming, nearly 100 protestors had lost their lives to only one soldier, although the lynch mob accounted for killing more soldiers and having stormed the Bastille, more violent acts took place with peasants rampaging and destroying many chateaux including the records of feudal taxes and rents due by local tenants.
So with the storming of the Bastille Day being seen as the start of the end of the Monarchy, it’s little wonder the day itself is commemorated around the world with people adopting Revolutionary French costumes as well as embracing everything French for the day and by the singing the La Marseillaise, the French national anthem.
La Parisian French Mademoiselle Fancy Dress from a collection of French themed Costumes at Karnival Costumes
In Paris, military parades are held in the morning, the largest of which takes place on the Champs-Elysees in Paris in front of the President of the Republic. During the rest of the day there are numerous organized events as well as a host of noisy and boisterous parties with the day culminating in splendid organized firework displays. Everyone in France is encouraged to celebrate the act of freedom represented by the storming of the Bastille.
So why not follow the crowd and enjoy your own French themed party and at Karnival Costumes we have a complete selection of instant French costumes as well as a complete range of red, white and blue tableware and decorations to ensure your event is perfect.  So why not celebrate this year's Bastille Day by organizing a celebration.
Go on, raise a glass to Democracy itself!  Have a magnifique Bastille Day!
And to get you ringht into the mood, here's a fantastic clip we found on Youtube which truly celebrates everything French and Bastille Day properly. Enjoy!


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