French National Day : La Bastille!

Every year since 1880, the French National Day is celebrated on 14 of July. It commemorates the Bastille storming representing the beginning of the French Revolution which occured in 1789. 

That is why I decided to invite joobseekers, my collegues, students and other international volunteers to join us in Jaunimo Darbo centras in order to tell them more about this special French day !

Event's program
Event’s program

I started with a page of history : People in France were divided in three categories : aristocrats, who had a lot of power and were rich. People from the Clergy, from the Church  who had also a lot of privileges. And the third-estate, it means all the other people,mainly poors and working in fields…

On 19 May 1789, the deputies of the Third Estate, representing the common people decided to break away and form a National assembly. They decided not to separate until a constitution had been established. They were gradually joined by delegates of the other estates. The assembly started to draft a constitution.

But the people were feared of the King’s reprisal so they attacked the Bastille, a fortress-prison in Paris in which the king was used to send people from political opposition, without any judment. Why the Bastille? Because there were a lot of guns and gunpowder and the Bastille had been known for holding political prisoners and was thus a symbol of the absolutism of the monarchy.The commander of the Bastille, capitulated and opened the gates to avoid a mutual massacre. But de Launay and seven other defenders were killed.

Shortly after the storming of the Bastille, on 4th August, the previous system with three different categories of people, was abolish. On 26th August, the Declaration of the Rights of the Man and of the Citizen was proclaimed. Four years later, the King Louis XVI was decapitate. It ends the monarchy in France.”

If you want to know more about the French revolution, you can watch this funny cartoon:

We also spoke about how we celebrated it today:

By organising a military parade
By organising a military parade
Going to the firemen's ball.
Going to the firemen’s ball.

With most French starting their long summer holidays, it’s a time to relax and enjoy. One of the ways to celebrate this day is by going to the Fireman’s Ball, “Bal des Pompiers”, which takes place all over France. The the most famous one being in Paris.

The origin of the Bal des Pompiers is not clear but it all started in Paris. Initially it was a way for firemen and their families to relax and celebrate this public holiday together in their fire stations. But on a certain 14th of July 1937 Parisians liked what they heard and knocked on the door of the local fire station. They were welcomed in and the following year many other stations opened their doors to the public. Nowadays fire stations all over the country organise balls.

By preparing fireworks
By preparing fireworks

Then I decided to organise a quiz on French culture, geography and history. The competitors gathered into three teams and they were very good at answering the quiz. By the way, at the end, the three teams had the same score. So no winner…only loosers ^^.

If you want to test your knowledge try to answer this one :

“Approximatevely how many tons of brown paint are used to paint the eiffel Tower every seven years ?”

  • A) 20 Tons.                                                B) 40 tons
  • C) 60 tons                                                   D) 80 tons

To help you : 25 workers are working during 18 months and it costs 5 millions euros.

Another part of my presentation was about stereotypes!

I first asked to everybody which stereotypes about France or French people they have. They told me that french people are well-dressed and romantic! But also arrogant and unfriendly! That we eat frogs, snails, a lot of cheese and that we drink a lot of wine. We are even eating oysters every weeks by drinking Champagne^^. Only stereotypes? Maybe not!

You can have a look at this video to hear the most common stereotypes about France and French people:

The last part of my event was about French geography and landscapes.

You can watch this video to have an overview of the the very different French landscapes in all the regions:

Later, I made a game during which my guests have to guess whether each was a Lithuanian one or a French one.

lithuania vs france

I found some very interesting similarities between many French and Lithuanian landcapes.

So is it in France ? Or in Lithuania ?

Cité des 4000, Paris, France
Cité des 4000, Paris, France
Silainiai, Kaunas, Lithuania
Silainiai, Kaunas, Lithuania
Colorful sunset at a famous marine pier in Palanga, Lithuania
Palanga, Lithuania
Bassin D'Arcachon, France
Bassin D’Arcachon, France
dune du pyla
Pyla dune, France
Nida dune, Lithuania
Nida dune, Lithuania

We ended this presentation by eating crepes that Emanuela and me had cooked!

I thank everyone who came and participated. From my point of view, the atmosphere was great and according to them, it was very interesting! So I can say to myself: good job!



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