Sunday, July 15, 2007

La Fête Nationale de la France (Bastille Day)

Aujourd’hui est associée au défilé militaire du 14 juillet qui remonte les Champs Elysées. C'est aussi une fête populaire avec l'organisation de bals et feux d'artifices, mais le 14 juillet est avant tout une fête républicaine symbole de liberté.

Le 14 juillet est la date symbolique du passage de la monarchie à la république. Dans les premiers moments avant la révolution française en 1789, une grande agitation régnait partout en France. Le Tiers État (les représentants de la bourgeoisie) se sont opposés au Roi de France Louis XVI et ses abuses. Ils ont voulu de la liberté, égalite et la création d'une constitution. Le Roi a été totalement opposé, alors les députés du Tiers État ont fait, le 20 juin 1789, le serment du Jeu de Paume de "ne jamais se séparer jusqu'à ce que la Constitution fût établie".

Le peuple était mécontent, le peuple avait faim, il s’est soulevé avec les députés du Tiers Etat et il a décidé de marcher sur la Bastille, prison d'État qui a symbolisé l'absolutisme et l'arbitraire de l'Ancien Régime. C'était cette prise de la Bastille qui a commencé la revolution. Dès lors, la prise de la Bastille symbolise pour tous les Français la liberté, la démocratie et la lutte contre toutes les formes d'oppression.

...and now, in English...

Today we associate July 14 with the military procession that marches down the Champs Elysées. It’s also a popular festival for organizing parties and fireworks, but July 14 is first and foremost a symbol of freedom throughout the Francophone world.

July 14 is the symbolic date of France’s passage from a monarchy to a republic. In the time immediately preceding the French revolution in 1789, a great tension pervaded all of France. The Third State (representatives of the middle-class) were opposed to King de France Louis XVI and his abuses. They wanted liberty, equality and the creation of a constitution. The king opposed this, so the deputies of the Third Estate made, on June 20, 1789, what we know as the Tennis Court Oath “never to separate until the Constitution was established”.

People were dissatisfied, people was hungry and they raised themselves up with the deputies of the Third State and decided to march on the Bastille, a State prison which symbolized the absolutism and the capricious nature of the old ways. It was this storming of the Bastille which began the revolution. Therefore, for the French the storming of the Bastille symbolizes freedom, democracy and the fight against all the forms of oppression.

Here’s some basic stuff to learn more about France and Bastille Day:

Bastille Day—Standard wikipedia information on (easy to read and to understand, I think) is available [HERE]

Déclaration des Droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen (the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen)—One of the fundamental human rights documents, together with the Bills of Rights of both England and the United States, and also the more recent Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations. Its text is originally in French, but an English translation may be read [HERE].

La Marseillaise—The French national anthem. Its lyrics in both French and English are [HERE].

La Marianne—Marianne, the national emblem of France, is a personification of the Republic, and holds a place of honor in many French monuments. A popular representation of her, by Eugène de la Croix, can be viewed [HERE].


The French Flag—The origins of le tricolore are said to be a rosette, which the king liked, that was created in July 1789 just at the start of the French Revolution. The combination of the colours, often credited to the Marquis de Lafayette (chief of the King’s Guard), is of the coat of arms of Paris (red and blue), symbolically separated by (some say surrounding) the royal colour, white.

4 comments:

Kizz said...

My French is very rusty but I'm proud to say that I got all that in French. Just in case I checked my work and read it in English too.

Wayfarer said...

Don't you love it when you can totally understand stuff in another language? It never ceases to get me all giddy!

Kitty said...

Merci de l'information - même de l'année prochaine!

Et oui, il me rend folle de joie de comprendre n'importe quoi en n'importe quelle langue étrangère!

Je vous souhaite une joyeuse fête.

Anonymous said...

ce que je cherchais, merci