July is a popular month for national holidays! Both the US and France mark their holidays on the 4th and 14th, respectively. On July 4th the US observes the signing of the Declaration of Independence and on the 14th France celebrates the storming of the Bastille, a turning point in the French Revolution which eventually led to the end of the monarchy. But how does each country celebrate these occasions? While festivities this year look different, take a look below at how citizens of each country typically celebrate in non-pandemic times!

United States


Some say there is nothing more American than apple pie- except the Fourth of July. The celebration of American independence comes early in summer and is celebrated in a similar style across all 50 states.

Classic BBQ


One of the best parts of celebrating the Fourth of July is the food! BBQ s abound and Americans indulge in hot dogs, hamburgers, ribs, and really any kind of meat you can stick on a grill! A buffet of potato salad, cole slaw, watermelon, and chips round out the picnic. Desserts include the aforementioned apple pie, a variety of other fruit pies, strawberry shortcake, and the ever-patriotic flag cake, a vanilla or pound cake topped with whipped cream, frosting, or cool whip and blueberries for the stars and strawberries for the stripes.

Parades, Etc


Parades, especially local town parades, are common on the morning of July Fourth. You’ll recognize your local elected officials, high school band, and town civic groups marching and passing out candy. Other popular activities include: yard games; swimming at the local pool, lake, or ocean; and overall enjoying a lazy summer day. Of course at night fireworks light up the sky and classic patriotic tunes play in the background. Don’t forget to catch those fireflies (aka June bugs) in your backyard when the show is over!

Here in Boston, sometimes it feels just living in the town on July 4th puts you in the spirit! Every year on this holiday the Captain Commanding of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts reads the Declaration of Independence from the balcony of the Old State House downtown Boston.

France


Le 14 juillet or Bastille Day (in English) is one of the most cheerful celebrations in France. It’s celebrated across France from the smallest towns to the biggest cities and even here in America!

Start your day with the famous military parade on the Champs-Elysées which includes all the different parts of the French army. In 2019 you could have seen 4,300 soldiers, 196 vehicles, 237 horses and 69 planes. The French president opens the défilé which takes around two and a half hours start to finish. It is a really popular event in France, broadcasted live on television; it is also one of the oldest regular military parades in the world.

It’s lunchtime! Have a family lunch as La fête Nationale is a family-friendly day. It can be a garden party, a BBQ, or a buffet.  There is no special dish to celebrate Bastille Day; one generally cooks simple dishes which are easy to share with a large crowd!

Prepare your evening picnic and find the best spot to watch the nearest fireworks! So many towns/cities have fireworks that some do it on July 13th. If you are lucky you can enjoy it twice!! Some are more famous than the others, and Paris, of course, with the Eiffel Tower background is one of the highlights. Carcassonne is another great option with the spectacular backdrop of the Cité over the 600-meter-high walls. In Lyon, the fireworks take place near the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière and the colorful explosions make the Basilica more stunning than it already is.

Be ready to dance all night! After a breathtaking firework show, what is better than dancing with a group of firemen into the wee hours of the morning? Fire stations across France open their doors on July 13 and 14 for traditional firemen's balls where everyone is welcome (from kids to elderly people) to dance until the early morning!

The atmosphere of Bastille Day is really unique; kids and older people are mixed together to enjoy this day which takes a special place in all French people's hearts.

How do you celebrate these holidays? Bastille Day is just around the corner and we hope you don’t miss our virtual Bastille Day Celebration!




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