What the heck is Bastille Day? While most teachers are relaxing on vacation right now, there is an important national holiday happening in France on July 14th that might come up for discussion either in classrooms or around the dinner table. Either way, Edudemic has you covered.
Looking for some resources about Bastille Day and perhaps a few technology-based ways to teach / learn about it? Look no further. First though, what the heck is Bastille Day?
Quite simply, it’s the French Independence Day. It commemorates the storming of the Bastille, which took place on July 14, 1789 and marked the beginning of the French Revolution. The Bastille was a prison and a symbol of the absolute and arbitrary power of Louis the 16th’s Ancient Regime. By capturing this symbol, the people signaled that the king’s power was no longer absolute: power should be based on the Nation and be limited by a separation of powers.
Although the Bastille only held seven prisoners at the time of its capture, the storming of the prison was a symbol of liberty and the fight against oppression for all French citizens; like the Tricolore flag, it symbolized the Republic’s three ideals: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity for all French citizens.
It marked the end of absolute monarchy, the birth of the sovereign Nation, and, eventually, the creation of the (First) Republic, in 1792. Bastille Day was declared the French national holiday on 6 July 1880, on Benjamin Raspail’s recommendation, when the new Republic was firmly entrenched. Bastille Day has such a strong signification for the French because the holiday symbolizes the birth of the Republic.
As in the US, where the signing of the Declaration of Independence signaled the start of the American Revolution, in France the storming of the Bastille began the Great Revolution. In both countries, the national holiday thus symbolizes the beginning of a new form of government. On the one-year anniversary of the fall of the Bastille, delegates from every region of France proclaimed their allegiance to a single national community during the Fête de la Fédération in Paris – the first time in history that a people had claimed their right to self-determination.
Got it? Now let’s check out a few ways to teach about Bastille Day and how to celebrate it.
Looking for a Bastille Day-based event near you? Look no further than right here. It’s a mostly updated map that shows lots of events happening around the country (U.S.) but not all events appear to be updated. There are still some 2010 events but it’s certainly worth checking out!
You can see what people around the world are saying about Bastille Day right here. Whotalking.com is generally a helpful resource for keeping track of what people are saying across most social networks. Rather than searching on Twitter then Facebook then LinkedIn, Whotalking.com does a decent job of aggregating all these streams and presenting them in an easy-to-read format.
If you’re looking for some lesson plans on how to teach about Bastille Day, check this out. Socialstudiesforkids.com has some very boiled down descriptions of Bastille Day along with some great lessons to use if you’re teaching over the summer.
This activity looks at how the 14th July is celebrated in France. Students watch video clips and then use multiple choice cards to decide which answer completes each sentence. They then are presented with facts about how it is celebrated with true / false questions (again using true / false cards). They write sentences on mini whiteboards explaining how the English celebrate Bonfire night before a pairwork discussing their favourite festivals. Homework will be to write about their favourite festival. You’ll need a TES account to access this lesson but click here to get started.
Looking to color inside the lines this Summer? Crayola has a few pages of helpful coloring book pages that are perfect for Bastille Day. Check them out here.
Want to remind someone that it’s Bastille Day? There are a few free e-card services that have specially-created cards just for you!
Not everyone has the luxury to zip over to France for Bastille Day on July 14, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate their version of an independence day right from your home town. Check out these top ways to honor Bastille Day close to home:
Want to get a more visual sense of how Bastille Day celebrations and ceremonies unfold? Check out these pictures of Bastille Day to see images from as far back as the original storming of the Bastille in 1789.