Bastille Day is the common name given in English-speaking countries to the French National Day, which is celebrated on the July 14, each year. It has its origin on storming of the Parisian Prison, Bastille, on July 14, 1789, marking a turning point of the French Revolution. It was later shared with Fête de la Fédération commemorations, celebrating the unity of the French people on July 14, 1790.
Bastille Day celebrations are held throughout France. The oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe is held on the morning of July 14, usually on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, in front of the France President, along with other officials and foreign guests.
Similar to the United State's 4th of July, the date marks the beginning of republican democracy and the end of tyrannical rule.
Here's everything you need to know about France's national day and why it is still celebrated.
Storming of the Bastille
The event took place on July 14, 1789 amid a deep economic and political crisis, with an out-of-touch Louis XVI increasingly unable to manage anti-monarchist forces.
The Bastille, a medieval fortress and prison, was a symbol of tyrannical Bourbon authority in central Paris and had held many political dissidents.
After hours of negotiation and increasing frustration, the mob numbering just under 1,000 broke into the fortress.
Following hours of fighting, they took the castle at the cost of nearly 100 assailants' lives and one defender's.
What is its significance?
It became the flash point for the revolution to spread and eventually lead to the overthrow of the Bourbon monarchy and the execution of Louis XVI and his wife, Queen Marie Antoinette.
The prison was completely destroyed within five months and only a monument now stands on the site in the middle of a cobbled square.
Why do French people celebrate it today?
The French celebrate all things that symbolise France, such the tricolore French flag and La Marseillaise (national anthem) - both of which originate from the revolution.
Rather than commemorating the storming of the Bastille itself, it is a day to celebrate the three tenets of the republican national motto: "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity". Patriotic pride rather than political history is the order of the day.
How is it celebrated?
A public holiday in France, the day is celebrated with an abundance of fireworks, communal eating and parades.
Along the historic Champs-Elysee Avenue, a military parade takes place where French troops march, ride and drive with world leaders in attendance.
It is the oldest military parade in the world, having first taken place on Bastille Day in 1880.
“Vive le France”.