2015 Bank Holidays in France talk about those days that are listed as holidays by the statute of the country. However, it should be borne in mind that according to the law of the land the French Government states that only the Fete du Travail which is the May Day or May 1 or Labor Day can be a non working day with full pay, barring only those industries of course where it is not feasible to stop working.
Rest of the days that are considered to be public holidays are listed by the law, but the law does not make it mandatory for them to be non working days. However, there can exist a collective convention about having those days as non working days whereby the employers come to an agreement with the employees or the union body of the employees.
Here is a list of 2015 Bank Holidays in France along with brief background about each of them:
New Years Day – New Year celebrations in France begin with the New Year’s Eve which is known as Reveillon (de Saint-Sylvestre) Feast after the Saint Sylvestre. The custom is to have a sumptuous feast on this day for the French people believe that this will ensure prosperity in the year to come. As the clock strikes twelve in the midnight, people gather together to raise a toast dedicated to the New Year. People wish for each other – “bonheur, sante, amour, argent” which when literally translated means “good year, happiness, health, love and money”. Fireworks are lit in many places the grandest display being held at the Paris Disneyland. At present fireworks around the Eiffel Tower has been banned. Traditionally people get together with family and friends to welcome the New Year in a grand manner.
Easter Monday – With a strong Catholic background Easter is a very significant event in France, and the Monday after Easter is a holiday in the country to allow people to properly celebrate the occasion with their friends and family. Apart from the generic Easter traditions, there is a tradition of rolling raw eggs down a gentle slope and watch the surviving eggs. These eggs are called victory eggs and these symbolize the stones that were rolled away from Christ’s tomb. During this time the outskirts of Paris in the area of Chateaux Vaux le Vicomte there is a huge egg hunt contest where thousands of people participate.
Labor Day – This holiday has been made mandatory by the laws of the land. This is the day that pays tribute to the long struggles that the Labor Union leaders had undergone to establish Labor Rights. These were represented by a red triangle in France that includes eight hours of work with adequate time for sleep and leisure. Later during the reign of King Charles this symbol was replaced by a rose. During the reign of King Charles IX he was presented with a lily of the valley by someone wishing him good luck in the tear 1561. Since then the country has an established tradition to carry bouquets of lily of the valley in Labor Day marches or parades. In fact the country exempts these flowers and bouquets from taxes during this time.
V-E Day – This is the abbreviated form of Victory in Europe day. This is a public holiday in France that is commemorated on the 8th of May each year, and has been this way since 1945. A day prior to this day, the act of military surrender was signed in the city of Reims in France and then on this day in Berlin, Germany. This surrender brought an end to the World War II in Europe. The day is marked by parades in which people wear colors of the French Flag – red, blue and white.
Ascension Day – This is the day when the Christians believe that Jesus Christ ascended to heaven after his crucifixion and resurrection. As such this day is believed to be very holy and it is marked by holding special prayer services in the Churches.
Mother’s Day – This is the day when the country encourages people, especially the young ones, to honor their mother or those they consider to be mother figures in their life. Children make cards and greeting notes for their mom. People also buy gifts for their mom. French people love to associate celebrations with food. Mother’s Day in France is associated with cake that is made in the shape of flower bouquet which one gifts to his/ her mom on this day. This is a day when people often take out their mother for brunch that is complete with the ever so famous French cuisine and French wine of repute.
Whit Monday – This is the Monday after Pentecost, and is one of the three Baptismal seasons of the year. This day is observed at a time when France experiences a warm weather and as such people enjoy this day out of doors with picnics as they strengthen the bonds of family and friendship. Many local sporting events are also organized during this time. However, this holiday had to go through some recent troubles due to the fact that in the year 2003 the country saw the demise of fifteen thousand elderly people from a sudden heat wave. Due to this, the French Government cancelled this holiday from 2005 and encouraged people to donate their wage for the day to improve community care. But after vehement protests the holiday has been reinstated since 2008.
Father’s Day – Father’s Day in France has been celebrated since the middle ages as was celebrated in many Catholic Christian countries during that time. This was however celebrated on 19th of March at that time to commemorate the Fest honoring Saint Joseph who the Christians believe to be the foster father of Jesus Christ. Later, according to the international traditions, Father’s Day celebration in France was shifted to the third Sunday of the month of June. It is a common custom for children to offer handmade gifts to their father using paper or used cereal boxes like neckties, bowties, frames etc. Older people throng the gift shops to buy a nice present for their father. Of course no French celebration is complete without good food and wine.
Bastille Day – This is the French National Day that is commemorated to mark the beginning of the French Revolution that happened on the 14th day of July in the year 1789 with the Storming of the Bastille. This day also commemorates the Fête de la Fédération that upheld the unity of the French people on the same date in the year 1790. Military parades are organized in Paris. Apart from that many community parties and dances too mark the occasion.
Assumption Day – Christendom celebrates this day to commemorate the bodily ascension to Heaven of Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. Apart from prayer services, many community events too are organized to mark the occasion. This holiday falls during the summer months and people take this opportunity to enjoy with friends and family or to travel. Many people flock to a cave in Lourdes where it is believed that a girl once had a vision of Mother Mary. Some people claim that by drinking water from a spring in that cave they have been cured of illnesses.
All Saints Day – This is the day when people pay respect to all Saints and martyrs, especially those who do not have a Feast dedicated to them. It is a common custom for people to attend Church services and visit graves of Saints. People also visit graves of family members. Many people flock in the cemetery in Père Lachaise on this day where many famous French people have been buried.
Armistice Day – Also known as the L’armistice de la Première Guerre Mondiale this is the day when the country commemorates the end of the World War I. This is the day when the country pays tribute to all those who sacrificed their life fighting for their country. Special memorial services are organized at the Churches in their honor. At exactly eleven in the morning the country observes one minute silence as a mark of respect and to pray for those people who died to bring freedom the country enjoys at present. Military parades too are held on this day. It is also a custom to wear red poppies on this day. People take flowers and wreaths to the tombs and monuments.
Christmas Day – Known as Noël, Christmas day is celebrated in France along with the rest of the world to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas in France is a time of reuniting with family, worship, donations to the needy and of course fun and feasting. Preparations for this day begin days ahead with people decorating homes and businesses with Christmas trees. Many people also decorate with figurines from the Nativity, like that of Joseph, Mary and Jesus. Children hand stockings or leave shoes out anticipating gifts from Papa Noël otherwise called Santa Claus. Like in most parts of the world, France also begins the Christmas Day with mid night mass that is held in churches as the 24th of December gets over. After the prayers there is feasting that is known as le Réveillon which is either held in homes or in restaurants that are open all night.
List of 2015 Bank Holidays in France
|Thursday||January 01||New Years Day|
|Monday||April 06||Easter Monday|
|Friday||May 01||Labor Day|
|Friday||May 08||V-E Day|
|Thursday||May 14||Ascension Day|
|Sunday||May 24||Mother’s Day|
|Monday||May 25||Whit Monday|
|Sunday||June 21||Father’s Day|
|Tuesday||July 14||Bastille Day|
|Saturday||August 15||Assumption Day|
|Sunday||November 01||All Saints Day|
|Wednesday||November 11||Armistice Day|
|Friday||December 25||Christmas Day|