The month of July is Independence month for me! My american heritage celebrates 4th of July and my French heritage celebrates Bastille Day, which is July 14th. And since the French assisted us during the Revolutionary war I feel immensely proud to celebrate both holidays!
For those of you who don’t know or don’t remember from elementary school, Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison on July 14, 1789, during the reign of King Louis XVI, thus starting the French Revolution.
The revolution took three years to remove the monarchy and transform Franc into the land of equality and democracy. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, and the march on Versailles, also contributed to the transformation of France.
On September 1792, France became a republic. The following year the king was executed. After that the French Senate was founded and Napoleon Bonaparte became the first Emperor of France.
To celebrate Bastille day the French have military parades in Paris and many garrison towns. The country’s flag are everywhere, especially along the Champs-Elysees. The military, complete with cadet, infantry, motorized and mounted troops, march from l’Arc De Triomphe to Place de la Concorde. There are also air force aerobatic displays and fireworks.
Here in the states I celebrate by making some serious patisseries. The day always starts with a croissant, then I have some macaroons that I made the night before. Somewhere along the line I’ll sneak in a petite fours, lunch might be me having a croque madame and dinner I’ll have beef bourguingnon. My tummy is rattling now!
I love days like this that help me teach my children about their proud heritage and instill traditions in their lives. I also believe that holidays such as these remind us that our ancestors didn’t always have it so easy. During this time in France’s history the people were literally starving to death. A few centuries laser they were starved again by Nazi Occupation. During WWII my grandmother, who was nineteen at the time, went hungry. Even after the war she was very sensitive when it came to wasting food.
Now, switching gears cause that was a little depressing! After the celebration, or for the nerd in me-the reflection, I find myself inspired by the romance of the time period. During the time of both the US and French revolutions was a magical time. The people had a fresh start, a real chance to turn something that wasn’t working into something that would. The writer in me is inspired. I want to write a piece that gets right into the mess of it all.
I do hope that everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday. Enjoy yourself, take time to reflect on how life would be so different if these changes had never taken place. Could you imagine still being a part of England? Or split up? Remember what it means to be independent and free from the hardships of our four fathers. If we remember that then we will recognize restrictive rule sneaking up on us!
Speaking of wanting to writing a historical fiction be sure to check out We’ll Never Have Paris, a project I am working on that takes place during WWII. Enjoy!
Until next time, Keep writing!