Days of enjoying with friends and family as well as attending religious and patriotic events is the main definition of holiday for the people of France.

Starting from the New Year right till Christmas, the people have a lot of events to look forward to every year. Some events have much to be learned from them as well as events which are just there to be enjoyed.

But all in all, France sure has many activities happening every year with the presence of quite a few national holidays.

The list of France’s bank holidays 2017 is a group effort by the members of 123NewYear to bring to its respected readers a compiled list of holidays over the year with their respective dates and a brief idea about its traditions and history as well as an overview of how people in France celebrate these holidays. 

Here’s a list of France’s bank holidays in 2017:

Holidays in France Date Description
New Year’s Day 1st Jan 2017 This day is the first day of the Gregorian Calendar and is celebrated by the people in France with their friends and family. Post offices, stores and banks are kept closed on this day. After the huge amount of celebration and partying the night before, people generally tend to spend this day quietly and relaxing before heading off to work the next day. There are some specific kinds of cakes and tarts that are specially made and eaten on this day which consist of heart shaped cakes and log shaped cakes made of ice cream. Often these cakes are decorated with symbols of winter and good luck charms for the incoming year namely golden bells, evergreen trees, chocolate coins and birds. Another cake that is a custom to eat on New Years Day is the King’s Cake which is actually a puff pastry filled with frangipane (eggs, sugar, butter and ground almonds). These are sold with a paper crown on top and there is a dried bean or coin or ceramic figure hidden in the cake. The person who finds the hidden item is the ‘king’ for the day and gets to wear the paper crown.
Easter Monday                     17th April 2017 “Easter Monday is the last day of the Easter weekend and is a public holiday in France. People spend this day outdoors to enjoy the essence of spring and greenery all around. Some families may have a tradition of organizing Easter egg hunts in their gardens. There is a wide range of local customs and events on this day throughout the country. The inhabitants of Bessieres which is a village in the Pyrenees mountains near the Spanish border have a custom of making a gigantic omelet with 15,000 eggs in a huge pan about 13 feet wide in diameter. Then a communal meal is held in order to eat it. The village of Cargese on the island of Corsica hosts a colorful parade on this day. Also, on the boundary regions of Paris and in the Chateaux Vaux le Vicomte, a famous Easter egg hunt is hosted that attracts thousands of visitors each year.
Labor day 1st May 2017 “Also known as May Day, this holiday is spent celebrating and campaigning for workers’ rights. A tribute is paid to all those Union workers who had fought for better working conditions of laborers decades ago. It is also an occasion when the people of France present to their loved ones a typical flower called the lily-of-the-valley or dog rose. This practice started centuries ago when King Charles The Ninth of France was presented with lily of the valley flowers on 1st of May, 1561. Since then the king used to give a bouquet of these flowers to the ladies of his court on the 1st day of the month May every year. Around the 1900’s, the men of the country followed suit and started giving these flowers to their loved ones to express their affection and it has been so since then. There are special regulations and laws in France that allow people to buy these flowers without paying taxes on this day. On this day, trade unions and similar organizations set up parades, demonstrations and presentations regarding workers’ rights and human rights in general.
Victory Day 8th May 2017 “This day marks the anniversary of the date on which the World War Two had been officially declared over i.e. 8th of May, 1945. The French flag is the symbol of this day as it signifies the freedom of France from Nazi oppression years ago. Flags of all the European nations are displayed at ceremonies highlighting the presence of peace and unity in Europe since then. People are also found to wear clothes in colors of the French flag i.e. Red, blue and white. Many people attend parades and church services on this day along with recital of patriotic songs. Even though this is a joyous occasion, the people and veterans of the army who have given their lives for the freedom of their motherland are also remembered.
Ascension Day 25th May 2017 ” This is a public holiday in France occurring on the 40th day of Easter, 10 days prior to Pentecost Sunday. This is regarded as one of the holiest days by Christians on which Jesus was said to ascend to heaven after his crucifixion and resurrection. On this day, some people attend special services in churches while some spend this day with their family and friends enjoying the spring season. Also, some may take a leave on the next day that’s a Friday and enjoy a long weekend by going on a short trip.
Whit Monday 5th June 2017 ” Also known as the Solidarity Day, it is the day right after Pentecost Sunday and is a public holiday in France. According to Christianity, Pentecost is the time when the Holy Spirit was said to descend on the disciples of Jesus. Whit Monday was a public holiday until 2005 when a massive incident of 15,000 elderly people lost their lives due to the heat wave of summer that year. After that the holiday was reinforced from 2008 after many demonstrations and efforts by the people of France. Nowadays, people spend this day in the company of close friends and family by going to the countryside for picnics and camping trips. Sporting and cultural events are also held in some local villages and towns.
Bastille Day 14th July 2017 ” This day is an occasion to honor the French Republic and celebrate French culture. It commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution that had started on the 14th of July, 1789 with the Storming of the Bastille. Also known as the French National Day, this day sees military air shows being held in Paris along with communal meals, dances, parties, musical performances and firework displays. There is also a large military parade that takes place in Paris in the morning of Bastille day where service men and women from different units including cadets from military school, the French Navy and the French Foreign Legion participate. The parade is opened by the French president and ended by the Paris fire brigade unit. People of France either attend these large scale public events or spend quiet time with their families.
Assumption Day 15th August 2017 “This day is celebrated to honor the Christian belief that the spirit and body of Virgin Mary who was the mother of Jesus had ascended into heaven. It is an important occasion for the Christians and church festivals are held in the villages. Numerous Catholics in France attend church services on this day. Also various festivals are held in the villages which include sport events, communal meals, parades and markets. A village south-west of France called Lourdes became a pilgrimage destination of the Christians after a girl claimed to see Mother Mary here on February 11th, 1858. It is also believed that if one drank the water from the spring inside a specific cave in Lourdes, the person will be cured of all illnesses and so many people visit Lourdes on the Assumption of Mary day.
All Saint’s Day 1st November 2017 “This day celebrates all Christian saints especially those who don’t have a feast to their name. It is a day of mourning and people remember and honor their deceased relatives. People in France visit special services held in churches as well as visit the graves of their loved ones on this day. It is customary for people to present chrysanthemum or wreaths on the graves of their relatives or friends when they visit the cemeteries on that day.
Armistice Day 11th November 2017 “This day is a public holiday in France and is the anniversary of the end of the First World War. It is a solemn occasion and on this day, the people of France remember and pay tribute the ones who had given up their lives in the war. The French flag is displayed at half-mast or on flag poles by the military personnel. There are special memorial services held every year in the churches as well as military parades to war memorials occur where the president of France lays down wreaths and flowers. People generally don black and dark colored clothes. At exactly 11 AM on the clock in the morning of Armistice Day, the entire country observes a one minute silence to pay respect to all those people who gave up their lives to obtain the freedom that they enjoy today.
Christmas Day 25th December 2017 This day celebrates the occasion of the birth of Jesus Christ and is also known as Noel. On this day, the people of France decorate their homes and the Christmas tree, spend time with their family members, give each other presents and eat elaborate meals. Special services at churches are also attended. The Christmas Day feast which is called Le Reveillon includes dishes like Rabbit terrine, Brouillade de Truffle, Roasted Capon, Aigo- Boulido and Papillottes. Children hang up stocking in hope of getting presents from the loved Papa Noel or Santa Claus.