Today, we join with France in celebrating Bastille Day to commemorate the Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, sparked the French Revolution that led to the establishment of democracy in that nation.
The Bastille was a medieval fortress-prison in Paris which held a large cache of ammunition and gunpowder. It also held political prisoners whose writings had displeased the royal government. It was a symbol of the harsh rule of the Bourbon monarchy in the late 1700’s.
The storming of the Bastille was a pivotal event at the beginning of the French Revolution.
The following year, on the anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille, the French people celebrated la Fête de la Fédération, to commemorate the unity of the French nation during the French Revolution. The captain of the National Guard of Paris followed by King Louis XVI took an oath to the Constitution. After the official celebration, the day ended in a huge 4-day popular feast and fireworks.
In 1878, a feast was officially organised in Paris to honour the French Republic.
On May 1880, Benjamin Raspail, politician, proposed a law to have the French Republic choose July 14th as the yearly national holiday. It was accepted and Bastille Day became a public holiday for the 1st time on July 14, 1880.
Bastille Day has become a day of celebrations of French culture.
Bastille Day celebrations are also celebrated in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada and in French communities all over the world. Canada and France share a deep history of cooperation, of forging a strong connection anchored in peace, valour and the inherited legacy of two free nations that is owed to the sacrifices of our service men and women.