Tomorrow, French St. Martin celebrates la Fête Nationale, or Bastille Day, commemorating the storming of the Bastille prison by angry crowds on July 14, 1789, helping kick off the French Revolution, as well as the Fête de la Fédération which celebrated the unity of the French people on July 14, 1790.

The public holiday is marked by musical performances, large communal feasts and dancing and fireworks in France and its overseas territories. Festivities are also held in some other countries. The Bastille Day military parade along Champs-Elysees, Paris, is the oldest and possibly the largest one in Europe.

Official festivities this weekend (both today and tomorrow) will centre in Marigot, and include music, entertainment, sports and games.

 

Official ceremonies, Sunday

9:00am: Ecumenical service at the Catholic Church of Marigot

10:15am: Official Parade, rue de la République – Boulevard de France

10:30am: Wreath laying ceremony, Memorial monument of the Collectivité

11:00am: Official speeches and toast, Collectivité building

 

Saturday Festivities

6:00 – 7:30pm: Musical entertainment: Funky Horny Horns/ Urmain Dormoy

8:00pm – midnight: 11th edition of A Pan Revolution, grand steelpan concert by the Gunslingers, featuring various musicians and well known voices.

 

Sunday Festivities

12:00 – 1:00pm: Live music by Boulogne Combo

1:00 – 5:00pm: Dominos and Belote games

1:15 – 3:00pm: Cycling race, starting and ending on rue de la République

2:00pm: Masters Classic Football Game: St. Martin Vétérans Club / Super Force FC, at the JL Vanterpool Stadium

2:00pm: Traditional Boat Race, leaving from Marigot

3:00pm: Traditional games

4:00pm: Musical entertainment by The Jolly Boys

5:00pm: Race through Marigot (Les Foulées du 14 Juillet)

5:00- 10:00pm: Live music and entertainment

10:00pm: Fireworks!

10:00pm-midnight: Live entertainment by TJT Band

 

The Storming of Bastille

Bastille prison, a Parisian medieval fortress, was a place of detention for important persons charged with various offenses, including political dissidents during the French revolution. It was targeted for symbolising royal rule.

King Louis XVI’s reign had been marked by scores of food shortages and exorbitant tax hikes. After a violent outbreak erupted on the streets, an armed mob stormed the Bastille on the morning of July 14.

It was part of a pivotal moment in history at the dawn of the French revolution. The monarchy was overthrown and Louis and his wife Marie Antoinette executed.

Fête de la Fédération

One year after the Storming of the Bastille, the French began celebrating Fête de la Fédération, symbolising peace and brotherhood during the revolution. That year, feudalism was abolished and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizen was installed to protect freedom of speech and fair political representation.