Each festival which is celebrated has a long history associated with it. So does this day which is popularly known as 'Bastille Day.' In this article, we will talk about the story behind this day being celebrated, the significance of this day in France and how it is celebrated in France as well as Pondicherry in India.
Bastille Day 2020
Bastille Day in Pondicherry will be celebrated on July 14, 2020
Significance of Bastille Day in France
Though there were some events due to which the tragic storming took place on 14th July, it was quite an impactful proof for the revolutionaries in Paris as well as France about the power which resided with King Louis and his control over the armed forces. This day marked the beginning of a revolution which spread and then led to the abolishment of the Bourbon monarchy followed by the death sentence given to King Louis XVI along with his wife named Queen Marie Antoinette. There was a prison in Paris which was destroyed beyond measure. Today, the site has a monument constructed in the middle of a paved square. Thus, July 14, is celebrated as a national holiday every year in France to celebrate this event of "mob breaking" which took place in the 8th century in the prison of Paris. This day which draws a similarity to the significance of July 4, in the United States is celebrated as a start to the democracy of Republic which put an end to the autocratic rule.
What really happened?
On 14th July 1789, the storming of Bastille took place in the middle of an economic as well as political crisis due to the inability of King Louis XVI to manage the forces that were against the monarchy. Bastille was a fortress as well as a prison during the medieval period and symbolised the authoritarian Bourbon monarchy in Central Paris. A lot of protests had already been carried out earlier as a result of the fortress. Due to the king's decision to fire Jacques Necker who was the progressive minister of France and the increased concentration of Royals in the capital, the liberal people of Paris dreaded a rebellion against the National Constituent Assembly. On the morning of July 14, their fears turned out to be true with the conflict between the Royal family and the people against the monarchy which took place across Paris and led to the Bastille's armed forces being surrounded by an armed mob.
Even after a lot of negotiation when there was a solution, the angry crowd of around 1000 people broke right into the fortress. After a few hours when the battle came to an end with a loss of many lives. The mob finally took over the castle. The royal troops decided not to interfere in the matter or to make the mob left. Luckily, at the time when this event took place, there were only seven elderly prisoners in the lockups.
Why do the French celebrate 14th July?
Just like Independence Day is celebrated in United States, India, and all the other countries, even the French people celebrate this day to celebrate things representing France- the tricolour flag of their country and La Marseillaise which took place after the Bastille Day revolution. The Bastille Day is celebrated as a happy occasion to mark the national motto which includes liberty, equality, and fraternity.
How does the celebration take place?
Why does Bastille Day have significance in Pondicherry? First of all, a public holiday is declared on this day as a mark of celebration. Parades, fireworks and public eating are some of the ways through which this day is celebrated in France. A military parade marked by the marching of French troops and their riding and driving along with the presence of the leaders of the world in Elysee Avenue takes place on this day. This military parade is one of the most ancient parades in the world as it first took place on Bastille Day in 1880. On this day in Paris, people go for a fun picnic in parks, mingle with the other people and enjoy French food and wine. Then, everyone heads over to watch the fireworks from a place called 'Place de la Concorde'. All the ceremonies of the day finally come to an end with a public interview of the President of the Republic from an official place of residence also known as 'Elysée'.
In Pondicherry, one can enjoy a mix of cultures of both east as well as west coast thereby leading to the formation of a whole new kind of tradition. Since Pondicherry was under the influence of France for about 300 years; it resulted in the creation of a French heritage in the region. Pondicherry has seen numerous battles being fought amongst the French and the British thereby experiencing historical significance. Bastille Day is one of the major festivals of Pondicherry. It is also known as 'National day of France' there. Pondicherry was the centre of French business and transactions for Southern India as well Asia. On this day, all the retired soldiers participate in the parade and celebrate the day by singing Indian as well as French National Anthems collectively. Soldiers wear uniforms and walk through the streets in honour of those French soldiers who got killed in the battle. There is a French flag alongside the Indian flag which projects a mixture of culture and heritage. Pondicherry is decorated on the Bastille Day as this day is celebrated as a special occasion.
This occasion is worth being a part of. Plan a trip to Pondicherry and witness this beautiful and unanimous togetherness of two different cultures and traditions. It is an experience worth cherishing, and people who love diverse cultures are likely to have a gala time here!