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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in France series at FrenchPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind French holidays and observances. I’m Matt, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 2- National Holiday. In French, it’s called fête nationale.
Do you know why July 14 is a very important day for French people? Not only is it a public holiday, it’s a national holiday. This holiday commemorates two events. The first is the event called Prise de la Bastille, which is the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. The second is the Fête de la Fédération, which can be translated as “Federation Day,” created in 1790. In this lesson, you will see how and why French people celebrate this national holiday.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
What kind of show can French people see on the evening of July 14 in all of France’s cities?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
The celebration of July 14 has taken place since 1880. The taking of the Bastille, which happened on this day in 1789, symbolizes the beginning of the French Revolution or in French, Révolution Française. Indeed, on that day, Parisians angry at the old monarchy took over the old fortress, which was also a prison. Fête de la Fédération, or “Federation Day,” was created in 1790 by the Assembly. It embodies the ideal of unity and the reconciliation of the French, as well as celebrating the taking of the Bastille.
Every year since 1880, a military parade has taken place in Paris in front of the President of the Republic or in French, Président de la République. The soldiers are on foot, on horseback, in vehicles, or flying in planes. They go down the boulevard des Champs Élysées, the Place de l’Étoile, and all the way to Place de la Concorde, where they salute the President and his government. This parade attracts thousands of French people. Those who cannot come to see it in Paris watch it on TV. The two French channels that broadcast the parade draw millions of viewers each year.
At night the French have an opportunity to party, since dances are held in most cities. They have quite a few choices, as many different styles of dances and music are offered in each city. These events are organized in the firefighters’ actual firehouses, and bring together people of all ages and professions.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question!
What kind of show can French people see on the evening of July 14 in all of France’s cities?
On the evening of July 14, French people can see fireworks, or feux d’artifice in French. This is a tradition that has existed since the creation of this national holiday in 1880. In Paris, the fireworks called Trocadéro alone bring together thousands of visitors.
How was this lesson? Did you learn some interesting things?
In your country, do you have a holiday celebrating revolution?
Leave a comment telling us at FrenchPod101.com, and we’ll see you next time!