think in french logo

Major holidays and celebrations in France

major french holidays

Holidays and festivals are an integral part of any culture. They are widely celebrated for keeping traditions alive, honoring the country’s history, and respecting the sacrifices of people.

France enjoys 11 official public holidays wherein each day reveals a piece of the country’s identity. There are five civil holidays and six religious holidays accompanied by other special celebrations.

Here is a list of all the major holidays and celebrations in France that are worth marking on your calendar and further hold the opportunity to understand the intercultural practices.

french holidays and celebration

French holidays based on the civil calendar

According to the civil calendar, there are five important days. Some of these holidays are celebrated to remember and honor people in essential roles. It is important to recognize the meaning behind these occasions to celebrate them with respect and gratitude.

1. Bastille Day (Fête Nationale) – 14th July

The Bastille Day marks the storming of Bastille by a revolutionary mob and the beginning of democracy in France. In French, it is called la Fête nationale or le 14 juillet.

On this day, thousands of Parisians gathered together to celebrate the unity of the new French Nation and the national reconciliation of its people.

The day became an official holiday in 1880 and has always been celebrated with shows of military might, parades, and fireworks. People watch the spectacle that takes place every year with a different theme.

bastille day

2. Victory in Europe Day (Jour de Victoire en Europe) – 8th May

Victory in Europe Day or VE Day celebrates the end of a six-year war that had cost the lives of millions. It commemorates the victory of the allies over Germany.

On 8th May 1945, millions of Germans surrendered to Allied forces. Celebrations erupted with the news of Germany’s surrender as it restored the freedom of many people.

In France, people respect and commemorate this public holiday by bringing flowers or wreaths to the War Memorial.

victory day

3. Armistice Day (Jour d’Armistice) – 11th November

Armistice Day is celebrated to honor the veterans who lost their lives in the First World War. The Armistice was signed between the Allied forces and Germany at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

In observance of this day, there are parades throughout France. Every town and village in France has a war memorial listing the men from the local area who died for their country.

The bleuet or the cornflower is chosen as a symbol of remembrance. Its blue color represents the blue uniforms of many soldiers during the First World War.

armistice day

4.  May Day (la Fête du Travail) – 1st May

May Day is a public holiday to celebrate workers’ rights. On this day, workers protested to regulate the length of the working day. Following the protest, the government took several social measures and signed an eight-hour day law to meet the social demands.

According to this law, workers should not be made to work for more than 8 hours a day. This day is associated with the lilies of the valleys in France and is also called la Fête du Muguet in French. It has been a tradition to offer these flowers to work colleagues and friends as a sign of luck.

labour day

5. New year ( Jour de l’An) – 1st January

This day needs no introduction as it is celebrated worldwide. Many people in France begin their New year celebrations at midnight with their friends or family members. Traditionally, the festive spirit kicks off with a glass of champagne, delicious food, and firework displays.

The following day is accompanied by exchanging gifts or cards and a list of new resolutions for the new year. You can also join thousands of people to witness the musical parade at the Champs-Élysées.

new year

French holidays based on religion

There are six public holidays based on religious beliefs. These holidays serve as a celebration of faith while embracing the culture and values.

1. Christmas ( Noël) – 25th December

The celebration of Christmas has been inherited from Christianity. It celebrates the birth of Jesus and is filled with ever-changing traditions that date back to ancient times. In France, cities and towns are adorned with decorations that are an eye-catcher to visitors.

This festive season is diversely celebrated and consists of many favorite customs such as exchanging gifts, Christmas trees, Christmas carols, advent calendars, bûche, Père Noël, and the great Christmas Eve dinner.

christmas

2. All Saints’ Day (La Toussaint) – 1st November

All Saints’ Day is a Catholic tradition of honoring the dead. People spend the day visiting the graves of their families, attending church services,  and dining together.

Families try to uphold the tradition of keeping the day peaceful by avoiding fighting. The graves are cleaned and replaced with pots of Chrysanthemum as it symbolizes immortality in France.

alll saints day

3. Assumption Day (Assomption) – 15th August

Assumption Day reflects the popular belief among Catholics that celebrates the rising of Mary into heaven. Every year, Paris hosts a procession on a boat in the Seine to carry the silver statue of Mary.

The belief has no biblical basis and is widely celebrated to keep the old traditions alive. This day is also associated with the end of the summer holidays. It symbolizes the end of Summer and welcomes the approaching Autumn.

assumption day

4. Ascension Day (Jeudi de l’Ascension)

Ascension Day is a religious holiday celebrated primarily by Catholics and Christians. It commemorates Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven. The exact date of Ascension Day changes from year to year. However, it signifies the 40th day of Easter and is said to fall on a Thursday.

5. Easter (Pâques)

Easter is an important Christian religious festival in France celebrated on a Sunday. It signifies the resurrection of Christ and ends the 40 days of lent. The exact date depends on the seasons.

Easter traditions in France include chocolate, rabbits, eggs, bells, chicken, and lamb. The Monday after Easter (Lundi de Pâques) is a public holiday. It is customary in the south of France to go on a picnic for lunch with family and friends.

easter

6. Whit Monday (Lundi de Pentecôte)

Whit Monday is another popular day to be remembered in the Christian calendar. It celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles at Pentecost. It is a movable holiday as the date changes according to the date of Easter.

In France, it is celebrated during the Rose season. Therefore, people throw roses from the vaults of churches. It is also a tradition to release birds and pigeons on this day.

Experience something unique

Learning about the beliefs and cultures of other people helps us to embrace cultural differences and expand our values. Take this opportunity to grow in understanding towards the language and people.

So, the next time you see a pot of Chrysanthemum or a procession in the Seine, I bet you will understand the significance of the day and the traditions associated with it while experiencing something unique.

Related Posts

Rocket French Review

Are you interested in learning French and considering the Rocket French program for you? Read the Rocket French Review to know more if it fits

A News in Slow French alternatives

If you are currently learning French, this post is for you. We’ll give you the best News in Slow French alternatives. News in Slow French

Top 5 Babbel French alternatives

If you are learning French and have used Babbel before, we will give you better options! Check these top Babbel French alternatives. Babbel French alternatives

Fluent Forever review

Do you want to be able to speak French fluently? Here is one of the best apps for practicing French. For your benefit, read this

Best microphone for online teaching

With the rise of online learning, good equipment, beginning with a microphone, is required. What do you think is the best microphone for online teaching?

Best programs to learn French: my top 3

The language learning industry is a booming market. Do you want to learn the French language? Here are the best programs to learn French online.

French: LanguaTalk review

Before choosing a tutor, you must decide on your fluency levels, goals, and spending limit. If you want to learn French, here a the LanguaTalk

Babbel vs Duolingo: differences

In today’s post, we’ll compare and contrast Babbel and Duolingo. These are two of the most well-known language learning apps available. Babbel vs Duolingo: differences

Babbel French Review

You want to learn French, so you’re considering using the Babbel app. That’s fantastic. But before you start, read this Babbel French review for your

What is the best French language course?

Knowing French will open up job opportunities, allow you to connect with locals while traveling, and give you an edge regarding education and career opportunities.

5 Incredible French courses online

If you are looking to learn French, there are a variety of different ways to do so. So continue reading to know these incredible French

French basic lessons for beginners

In this article, you will find out all you need to begin learning French from scratch. French basic lessons Learning a new language can be

Top 8 beginner French tips

Learning a new language is not easy, and fluency in French is something that many people aspire to. If you want to master the French

Why learn French? 7 reasons why

Learning French is both rewarding and challenging. If you are planning to start doing it, you are making the right choice! Why learn French? The

Pros and Cons of Learning French

French is considered one of the world’s most beautiful, effective, and most spoken languages. But do you know its advantages and downsides? Pros and Cons

Is French the most beautiful language?

Do you find French intonation charming and appealing? Does this imply that French is the most beautiful language in the world? What makes French such

French newspapers for beginners

The word “newspaper” in French reminds you of popular names like Le Monde, Le Figaro, Libération, L’Equipe etc. These daily French newspapers can be a

Learning French with Françoise Hardy

Artists like Françoise Hardy were among the sensational stars that revolutionized pop culture in France. Learn French by celebrating the golden era of the 60s

Learn French with RFI

The ideology of learning French with radio isn’t as easy as it sounds. It requires a certain level of dedication, motivation, and effort. However, listening

Major holidays and celebrations in France

Holidays and festivals are an integral part of any culture. They are widely celebrated for keeping traditions alive, honoring the country’s history, and respecting the

Learn French through storybooks

With depths of wisdom and compelling journeys to magical lands, learn French with some of the best books to expand your brain. Customize your very

Learn French in 5 Minutes a Day

You want to learn French, but you lack the time? If you began 3 months ago, imagine how much you would learn French in only

Instagram accounts to learn French

Social media platforms like Instagram have benefited and inspired many amateur learners to learn French in a million ways. With bite-sized lessons and precise concepts,

Audio lessons to learn French on the go

Listening is an important skill to communicate in a foreign language. It unlocks our potential to learn French through many ways like podcasts, radio, movies,

Learning French with Vincent : Review

Learning French with Vincent is one of the most popular learning choices available on the internet. If you have wondered whether learning French with Vincent

Udemy courses to learn French

Udemy, a name that you have heard by chance or by choice whenever you mention the term “online courses”. This site has been one of

How to Learn French Without a Teacher

Does learning French by yourself sound appealing? Just think about it. No scheduled classes, no exams, no teachers. Just you and French, at your own

Best ways to learn French on your own

With the advancement of technologies and innovative applications, the efficiency of teaching methods to learn a new language on your own has expanded. If you

Learn French with a French dude

Learn French with a French dude is a youtube channel that serves as an epitome of variation with short clips and videos covering different themes

How can I learn French with TV5Monde

If you are looking for the perfect balance between education and entertainment then TV5Monde is your go-to resource to learn French. Its content swings between

A basic overview of French wine

Every country is best known for something that plays an important role in portraying their culture and tradition. Wine is one such thing in France.

Get a Certificate in French Language

If you ask yourself why should you take the certification course in French, we’ll help you decide in which cases is useful and in which

Learn French with Celine Dion

Celine Dion is one of the most internationally renowned singers of all time. She has moved us with her magnificent voice for years with her

Learn French with Rosetta Stone

All the language lovers who learn new languages on their own might have come across language learning tools like Rosetta Stone. So, if you want

Learn your French alphabet

We all love the idea of learning French but we often wonder where to begin. You can start with a short lesson on the French

Best Apps to Learn French for Kids

Turn your kids’ devices into French teachers to help them keep up with French! Since kids love their smartphones, they might as well take advantage

Best series to learn French

French TV shows have lots of advantages when it comes to learning a language. You can learn how to understand the French language in the

Popular French sports

Sports bind us together as a community. It ignites the patriotic and proud side of an individual towards his country. In France, the popularity of

How to ask questions in French

As humans, we have so many questions that arouse our curiosity. With every question, we learn something new. Questions are an essential part of everyday

Funny tongue twisters to learn French

If you wish to add laughter into your French schedule then tongue twisters are your best source. Prepare yourself to do the impossible with funny

Cool games to play with French

Say goodbye to your traditional methods of learning French and plunge into the francophone world through games. Games are the best pair to your learning.

Free websites to learn French online

Looking for some free French lessons to boost your learning process? We’ve got you covered! One of the most important things to learn a language

Learn French with Twitter

Twitter has always been a source of entertainment, a platform to share ideas and differences, and now it could also be a part of your