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Bastille Day (France)

- Bastille Day is on the 14th of July and is the anniversary of the storming of Bastille, Paris.
- The Bastille is a medieval fortress which people associated with the harsh monarchy at the
- The storming of Bastille was the turning point for the French Revolution, this resulted in the
end of the absolute monarchy in France and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy.
This meant that no one person had absolute power over France.
- The storming of Bastille happened in 1789 and Bastille Day has been celebrated since
- The day represents freedom, fraternity and equality.
- There is a military parade in Paris on the morning of the 14th and then there is a free
concert near the Eiffel Tower
- There is fireworks and special events all over France on this day
- Some of the events that occur on this are military parades, musical performances,
communal meals, dances, balls and firework displays
- People celebrate this holiday by getting together with friends and family to have picnics and
BQQs with traditional French food such as pastries, cheese, charcuterie and champagne as
well as attending the public events
Fun facts
- Bastille day is celebrated in many other countries as well
- After the storming of Bastille many aristocrats were executed in France, this was known as
the ‘reign of terror’

Halloween (focus on American tradition)

- Halloween has changed and evolved significantly over time
- Halloween comes from ancient Celtic origins, coming from a festival called Samhain. This
festival was celebrated on the 31 because it was right around the time the seasons changed

and it was believed the boundary between this world and the next was particularly thin.
- The Celts dressed up in costumes made from animal hides, had feasts and made lanterns
by hollowing out pumpkins
- Under Roman rule more celebrations were added to this day and it became a day to
honour Pomona (Goddess of fruit and trees) – this is where bobbing for apples came from
- The romans also added Alls Maytres day to honour the saints and All Souls Day or All-
hallows to honour the dead.
- This holiday was changed with Christianity as it was originally a pagan celebration.
- Over time it evolved and became what we know now, most commonly celebrated in the UK
and US
- Making lanterns with pumpkins
- Children going trick or treating
- Dressing up in spooky costumes
- Apple bobbing
- Watching scary movies
Fun facts
- Other names/origins of the ‘Halloween’ include Hallows Eve, Allhalloween, All Hallows Eve
and All Saints Eve
- Dressing up in costumes used to be a way to hide from spirits and ghosts
Saint Patrick’s Day (Ireland)
 St Patricks Day was originally to honour the feast of St Patrick, but is now
known as a celebration of Irish culture.
 St Patrick was born in the late 300’s, and was originally taken to Ireland as a
slave when he was 16.
 St Patrick led a life in Ireland teaching about Christianity and spreading the
Christian method, establishing many schools and churches.
 St Patricks Day is celebrated on March 17 every year, which marks the
saint’s death.
 The St Patricks Day Parade in Ireland is a huge, green celebration of Irish
culture, and attracts people from all over the world.
 In 2017 it was estimated that over 500,000 people came to the city centre of
Dublin for the parade.
 Celebrations are not limited to Ireland. This year, the Colosseum in Rome,
the London Eye, the Empire State building and Christ the redeemer in Rio will
all turn a shade of green on March 17 in celebration.
 Some Irish traditions that are practiced and celebrated on the 17th of March
include traditional Irish dancing and music, horse racing and GAA matches
(such as Gaelic football and hurling)
 There are parades all over Ireland.
Fun facts:
 The first St Patrick’s Day parade was celebrated in Boston (America) in 1737
and not Ireland.
 In Dingle in ireland, celebrations begin at 6am.
 The tradition of wearing green only became a dominant tradition in the 19th
century. Before then, the dominant colour associated with St Patrick was
 Some of the more traditional Irish foods include soda bread, beef and
Guinness stew

For more information: https://www.ireland.com/en-us/articles/whats-available/ireland-


Tomato Throwing Festival (Spain)

 A festival held in the East of Spain in a town called Bünol on the last
Wednesday in August.
 It has been a strong tradition since 1944/45.
 No one is certain of how it started, but theories include a local food fight
among friends, bystanders throwing tomatoes during a carnival parade or a
practical joke on a bad musician.
 One popular theory is that restless townsfolk of Bunol attacked the council
men during a celebration.
 At around 11am trucks haul huge amounts of tomatoes into the centre of the
town, Plaza de Pueblo.
 The signal for the beginning of the fight is firing of water cannons. The tomato
throwing fight lasts for one hour.
 Fire trucks spray down the street and due to the acidity of the tomatoes, once
the tomatoes have been hosed the ground is left extremely clean.
Fun facts:
 Before 2013 there were no restrictions on numbers, and so anywhere from
40,000 to 50,000 people participated in the fight (reaching 50,000 in 2012).
Bunol’s normal population is only 9,000, so today there is an official ticketing
system in place that caps the number at 20,000.
 Shopkeepers use huge plastic covers on their storefronts to protect them
from the mess.
 Participants are directed to squash tomatoes before throwing them as this
reduces the impact.
 There is a greased pole with a Spanish ham at the top which some people try
to climb (whoever climbs the pole and gets the ham is allowed to keep it).
 The holiday was banned during the Spanish State period for having no
religious significance.

For more information:


Independence Day (USA)

 Celebrated on July 4 (celebration is also known as Fourth of July)
 Commemorates the passage of the Declaration of Independence by
Congress on July 4, 1776.
 Marked independence from Britain following the American Revolution of
 During the early years, Independence Day was commemorated with parades,
speeches and toastings in ceremonies that celebrated the existence of the
new country.
 Due to a wide range of political and social beliefs across America,
Independence Day slowly became a day to publicise various causes.
 Americans celebrate Independence Day in a range of ways.
 The 4th of July is often filled with parades, barbecues, fireworks and baseball
games. Families, friends and neighbours often come together to enjoy good
food (especially BBQs) and company.
 The lighting of fireworks is a popular tradition for many Americans. A lot of
Americans buy and set off their own fireworks, but there also official firework
shows all over the country.
 Parades are a major part of Independence Day, and might include horses,
floats, cheerleaders, military units and marching bands.
 For many parts of America, the 4th of July is an extremely hot time of year.
 The American flag is displayed on cars, in windows and in various shops all
over the USA.
Fun facts
 There are a range of eating contests on Independence Day. Nathan’s
Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in NYC has become a 100 year old tradition
that now includes both a men’s and women’s championship.

For more information: