What Is Bastille Day and How to Celebrate It Wherever You Are

Here's how you can celebrate France's Independence Day at home.

The Fourth of July isn't the only Independence Day celebration this month. Bastille Day, celebrated annually on July 14, is France's Independence Day—but it's not only celebrated in France. In French-speaking nations, the day is known as Fête nationale (which translates to 'National Holiday') but English-speaking countries refer to it as Bastille Day.

The day commemorates the anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille, which on July 14, 1789, eliminated the French monarchy during the French Revolution. And while the holiday is obviously a huge cause for celebration in France, it's celebrated in countries around the world as well. Places that have a strong French history or large French population (like Canada, New York City, and New Orleans) hold parties and parades on July 14 as well.

fireworks explode over the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France during sunset
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When is Bastille Day?

Bastille Day is always celebrated on July 14. This year it falls on Wednesday, July 14, 2021.

How to Celebrate Bastille Day

In France, Bastille Day is typically celebrated with fireworks shows, military ceremonies, parades, and parties. But there are plenty of ways to celebrate the day from wherever you are in the world.

Learn the History of the Holiday

As with any holiday from another culture, the first step is to learn all you can about the history of the holiday. Educate yourself on the history of the French Revolution and of the significance of Bastille Day itself by reading a few articles or watching a documentary.

Make Your Favorite French Foods

If you're not celebrating in France, you can still participate in the Bastille Day festivities! Just be sure to celebrate the culture respectfully. We'll be spending the day celebrating one of our favorite aspects of French culture: The food. Invite a few friends over and try making one of our favorite French recipes, such as tasty macarons and Ratatouille Cassoulet.

Watch the Fireworks

Much like the traditional Fourth of July celebrations in America, the French celebrate Bastille Day by putting on elaborate fireworks shows all over the country. If you're lucky enough to be in France for the event, you'll likely be able to see fireworks from wherever you are. If you're celebrating from across the pond, consider having your own fireworks show (just be sure to practice these firework safety tips).

Attend a Celebration

Because there are so many areas of the world with a large French influence, the country itself isn't the only place you can attend a party or parade. If you're local to New York City or New Orleans, you'll be able to catch an annual parade and partake in festivities all over the city. If your local community doesn't have an event planned, consider setting something up.

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