The 11th November in France: le jour du souvenir


In France, the 11th of November is a major national day and a remembrance day.

This public holiday actually commemorates the Fête de la victoire which is when the Armistice was signed on the 11th of November 1918. And though it was originally a day to honour those who had served during the First World War, it has become a day to remember and honour all who served to defend France during wars.

The commemoration is observed by all municipalities, with a blue, white and red wreath being placed on each war memorial.

11novemberwreathThe Bleuet de France (cornflower) is the flower that was chosen by the French to commemorate that day as this is the flower which was on the battlefields and as it is the same colour as the soldiers’ (les poilus) uniform.

At 11 o’clock, of the 11th day of the 11th month, the country also stopped for two minutes silence. The first minute is dedicated to all the soldiers who died and the second minute, to the living left behind.

Special church services are held and military parades to war memorials and to the tomb of the Unknown soldier (a non identified body killed during WW1 and buried under the Arc de Triomphe) are organised. It is symbolically a way to remember all the soldiers who died during the war.

Soldat inconnu

Here lies a soldier who died for his country

Remembrance day = Le Jour du souvenir – A soldier = Un soldat – A wreath = Une couronne – A parade = Une parade – Tomb of the Unknown soldier = La tombe du soldat inconnu

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