Let us now celebrate one of the best days of the year for democracy – a day when the downtrodden finally rose in arms and started to break the power that had always set its foot on their necks. Today is Bastille Day.
It was not a quick revolution nor a clean one – the real ones never are – but it was, by and large, a successful one. The old monarchy tried to return after the new upstart monarchy was defeated. Eventually both their powers petered out and people took more of their lives into their own hands.
They’ve been conquered since, and then liberated and have conquered in their turn, and are facing more of it – as all Europe does. But then Europe has always faced strife since before the Roman Empire – none of it is new.
I take comfort on Bastille Day in reading Tom Paine’s ” The Rights Of Man ” and am inspired by our Marianne in the liberty cap. It is a good day for cheese and wine and paté.
I used to like holidays when I was on the receiving end of the present machine. Something popped through at Christmas, Easter, and my birthday every year, and if August and September were a little lean, at least there was new stuff for school.
I sort of liked Dominion Day and the Calgary Stampede as well for the fireworks and the midway at the Showgrounds, and Thanksgiving meant good food. If it also meant boring relatives and visitors, that was the price you had to pay.
Nowadays there are other prices. I am on the giving end of the present-o-matic and get to set it in motion with a credit card. This also applies to the commercial holidays celebrating motherhood, fatherhood, and nationhood. The Melville City Council tries valiantly to gin up celebrations of neighbourhood, but until they use real gin I am not having any of it.
I see from the net that you can also qualify for the admiration of managements if you participate in national days for Canada, the United States, and France at various bars around town. July could be a busy time, though not if you have ascribed to the ever-so-slighty righteous charity that wants you to abstain from alcohol this month. You are to place the money you would have otherwise spent for booze on the table in front of their representative and raise your eyes to heaven. When you lower your eyes the money will have vanished. Can’t get much more miraculous than that…
I think I like the bar holidays better. They do not pretend to religion or miracles. Or even to good nutrition. And you don’t have to sing carols or hymns or decorate the house. You can celebrate them in old clothes and without having to be nice to the in-laws.
And no dishes to wash.