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Bastille Day – Celebrate the way the French Do!

Posted on 5th July 2019
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 Bastille Day – Celebrate the way the French Do!

Bastille Day blog which you can read hear here at Karnival Costumes online party shop

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To the French, July 14th; Bastille Day (as non-French speakers call it) or 'Fête Nationale' (translation: National Celebration) is the equivalent to Independence Day in America and it’s a hugely important day in the French national calendar. It is the day when the whole of 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 and celebrates the actual storming of the Bastille on July 14th seen as a turning point in the French Revolution.
 
The Bastille was built in 1382 and originally defended the eastern side of Paris from attack. The Bastille was constructed with walls more than 80 feet high and was surrounded by a moat or fosse. Hundreds of years later, the ruling monarchy converted The Bastille into a prison. The Bastille soon became one of the most hated symbols of the monarchy as it was top the Bastille that the King and the royal government would send dissidents and other political prisoners without trial. Prisoners were sent there simply under the King's orders and it was only a Royal pardon that would lead to a release.
 
Although the storming of the Bastille is seen as a focal point for the beginning of the French Revolution, its existence alone was not sufficient for the revolution to start. The build up to the act on July 14th 1789 was a growing backlash against the absolute and arbitrary power of King Louis XVI's Ancient Regime. The French monarchy wasn't just undemocratic; it also owned the land against which it raised taxes as well as taking rent. The broad spectrum of French people was angry and frustrated with the aristocracy not conceding towards 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. Ironically, at the time of the physical 'storming' of the Bastille it’s reported that there were negotiations for the peaceful handover of the prison taking place although it’s doubtful that this would have had the same historical impact! The protestors broke into one of the outer compounds and a bloody seize began. At the end of the day, nearly 100 protestors had lost their lives to only one soldier, although more soldiers were to be killed by the lynch mob.
 
Having completed the storming of the Bastille, more violent acts took place with peasants rampaging and destroying many chateaux, and more importantly (to them) records of feudal taxes and rents due.
 
Many historians state that the storming of the Bastille had a more symbolic rather than strategic part in the actual revolution. It symbolised a statement of liberty and the fight against oppression and by seizing the Bastille the peasants had signaled that the monarch's power could no longer be seen as being absolute.
 
Today, Bastille Day is commemorated around the world and not only by the French! It’s been ‘adopted’ by all those looking to celebrate liberty and freedom. People can be seen dressed as French revolutionaries and many embrace the day by the singing the La Marseillaise, the French national anthem.
 
In Paris, military parades are held in the morning, the largest of which takes place on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris in front of the President of the Republic. During the rest of the day there are numerous organized events 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.
 
Why not celebrate this year's Bastille Day by organizing a celebration yourself and here at Karnival Costumes have a range of Frenchman instant fancy dress costumes and accessories plus a range of tableware and party goods which makes for a perfect party. So, go on raise a glass to Democracy!
 

July sees Bastille Day so let's join in with the French in their national Bastille Day party celebration

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