Fête Nationale Berlin 2012

As expat time spent outside of my home country increases, I find that the American Independence Day July 4th, increasingly hard to celebrate. 
Not due to loss of my sense of pride to be an American or any such thing… simply because there are so few chances to celebrate here in Berlin.
July 4th in Berlin is often put together by some of the local expat organisations, usually in a park somewhere, and annoyingly enough, during normal business hours. Am I the only American actually working in Berlin?

Fete NationaleWhich brings me to what the English-speaking world calls Bastille Day. July 14th is the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille prison, and is celebrated as the beginning of the French Revolution. Every year on Pariser Platz (the square that begins Unter den Linden street right behind the Brandenberg Gate), the French Embassy throws a little party. Not a huge one, but a nice one. Events run most of the day, and importantly for me, into the evening. Interestingly enough, in France, the parties are traditionally scheduled for the 13th of the month, allowing for the party to go late into the night, and the people to sleep in on the actual holiday.The French Embassy erects a large stage and twenty or so booths sell everything from Orangina to fine, French wines. Of course this is still Germany, so someone is selling Rostbratwurst in a bun as well, but most of the stalls are Franco-centric. In recent years, Galleries Lafayette has had a stall selling a bit of the French culture to hungry French expats and Germans alike.

For me the music is not to be missed, so I always try my best to be there for the concerts as the daylight begins to dim. 

Kinda golden
From our own trip to Paris
to celebrate the
Fête Nationale

I love to play “spot the Frenchie”, which is easier than you might imagine. As the music gets wilder and wilder, the Germans can be seen watching intently, generally with not so much as a foot tapping in time with the music… while the French are wildly dancing and obviously enjoying themselves. It is a cultural divide to say the least. 

Oh, and this American is jumping and dancing in the French throng, trust me. Maybe I don’t get to celebrate the Red, White and Blue complete with crazy fireworks… but the Blue, White, Red party is a lot of fun too.

If you’re in Berlin and looking for a nice Strassenfest, come on down to the Gate on Friday night. You will have your chance to taste a REAL crêpe, and show those Germans how to dance.


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