France celebrates the National Day, known as the Bastille Day, on the 14th of July every year. This day marks the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789 when an outraged group of Parisians stormed the Bastille, a fortress and prison in France. Bastille Day commemorates the end of monarchy for the French, and the recognition that power can be held by ordinary citizens in the form of the modern republic.
France was an absolute monarchy, ruled by King Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette.
During the end of the 18th century, France was on the brink of bankruptcy due to extravagant spending by King Louis XVI. The depleted royal coffers, a poor harvest for over two decades, and heavy taxes imposed caused unrest, resentment and desperation among the poor.
The resentment of the underprivileged culminated on July 14, 1789 with the storming of the Bastille fortress, and thus began the French Revolution.
The day also marks the end of the revolution in 1790, and celebrated as the Fête de la Fédération to mark the unity of the French.
The Eiffel Tower in Paris and the French national flag, are the important symbols of Bastille Day.
The morning of Bastille Day begins with a military parade on the Champs Elysees.
Every year the parade is given a theme, the theme this year being The Order of Liberation.
Spectacular fireworks are launched from the Trocadero, near the Eiffel tower. This year the fireworks theme will be - Paris Welcomes the World.
Communal meals, dances, balls, musical performances and spectacular firework are organised all over France.
The Bastille Day is a public holiday with all government and private organisations closed.