Les fêtes Publique Français - 2017

Taken from a french public website, a few facts about the French public holidays 

Sunday 1 January 2017, New Year

This celebration dates back to the time of ancient Babylon to mark the first new moon after the winter solstice. This day was characterised by hedonistic rites and preparations for the start of spring.

Monday, April 17, 2017, Easter Monday

Since the Middle Ages, the whole week following Easter, called "the Octave of Easter" was celebrated as a public holiday until that is, a concordat was signed by the Pope and Napoleon Bonaparte in 1801. Thereafter only the Monday remained as a public holiday.

Monday, 1 May 2017, Labour Day

This festival, International Workers Day, has duals origins. The first recorded protest leading to an agreement on working hours undertaken by labour unions in Chicago, America on Saturday, May 1, 1886. In France Labour or Workers day became a public holiday only in 1941 (29th April). In order to encourage and rally the workers the Vichy government, under German occupation, established this day as “a Workers day”. After liberation, the day was retained and has become known by several names including “journée internationale des Travailleurs”.

Monday, May 8, 2017

May 8 commemorates the signing of the act of surrender of the German and the official victory of France by General de Gaulle announced the next day.

Thursday, May 25, 2017, Ascension

This holiday marks the elevation of Christ into heaven after his resurrection and is celebrated 40 days after Easter Sunday. Ascension da is a public holiday in many countries.

Monday, June 4, 2017, Whit Monday

This Christian festival taken from ancient Greek for "fiftieth day" commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit 50 days after Easter. In 2008 it was decided that “pay from this day’s holiday” was to be given to the CNSA to help pay towards the funding of assistance for the elderly and disabled. Click this link for more information.

Friday, July 14, 2017, National Day

July 14, celebrated only in France symbolises the collective memory the capture of the Bastille 1789. It also celebrates a lesser-known event, “The Festival Federation of July 14, 1790” This honours the regional federations of the National Guard created in the summer of 1789 and was applicable in all French provinces.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017, Assumption

August 15 marks the feast of the Assumption of Mary. It has been a public holiday in France since 1638. In this year, Louis XII of France dedicated the Kingdom of France to the Virgin, in gratitude for finally allowing him to have a son (the future Louis XIV), after 23 years of infertile marriage.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017, All Saints

Every year, on 1 November, the Catholic Church celebrates all the saints, known and unknown. For that day, the church reminds us that holiness is everybody's business and that all men are called to be elevated to that rank.

 In France it is normal for people to visit cemeteries around this time and to place flowers on the graves of deceased family members and close friends. It is customary to leave chrysanthemums or wreaths of artificial flowers on or close to the graves.

All Saints' Day is also an opportunity for many people to spend time with family members and close friends. This holiday falls during the autumn school holidays and thus is a popular time for families to take a short vacation or to visit relatives living in other areas.

Saturday, November 11, 2017, Armistice 1918

Today marks the capitulation of Germany and the end of World War II. November 11, Remembrance Day is when the country pay homage to the soldiers who died for France. 2017 marks the centenary of the declaration of war. Thus there will be special ceremonies and commemorations to remember the fallen.

Monday, December 25, 2017, Christmas

A Christian festival since the 4th century replacing the previously pagan festival celebrating the winter solstice or "Birth of the Sun".