Holidays in France

Holidays in France

The French have 11 official public holidays. 5 of them are civil holidays (New Year’s Day, May Day, Victory in Europe Day, Bastille Day and WWI Armistice Day) and 6 have a religious origin based on the Catholic faith (Easter Monday, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, Assumption Day, All Saints’ Day, and Christmas).

In addition, people living in the two departments of Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin in Alsace and in the Lorraine department of Moselle enjoy two public holidays: Good Friday and St. Stephen’s Day. This is due to historical reasons when the three departments were returned to France in 1918.

  • New Year’s Day in France is celebrated on 1 January. Traditionally, the French celebrate it among friends, spending the time until midnight around a celebratory dinner.
  • May Day – is celebrated on 1 May most commonly associated as a commemoration of the achievements of the labor movement. The holiday may also be known as Labor Dayor International Worker’s Day.
  • Victory in Europe Day – is celebrated on 8 May on which day the World War II Allies formally accepted an unconditional surrender by the armed forces of Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich, after six years of the bloodiest conflict in human history. It is a national holiday in France known as ‘Victoire 1945’ or ‘La fête de la victoire‘.
  • Bastille Day – is celebrated on 14 July and marks the birth of the French Republic.
  • Easter Sunday – is celebrated in March or April each year to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
  • Ascension Day – Holiday observed in several European Countries. Always falls on a Thursday. It is the 40th day of Easter and commemorates the ascension of Jesus into heaven 39 days after resurrection on Easter Sunday.
  • Whit Monday – is observed fifty days (approx. seven weeks) after Easter and 10 days after Ascension. It marks the end of the Easter cycle.
  • Assumption Day – is celebrated annually on the 15th of August. It is the principal feast of the Blessed Virgin, the mother of Jesus Christ.
  • All Saints’ Day also known as Halloween – is celebrated on November 1 as a commemoration day for all saints.
  • Christmas – is celebrated on the December 25th. Christmas Day celebrates the Nativity of Jesus.
  • WWI Armistice Day – is celebrated on 11 November, the day when the World War I ended.

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