French revolutionary calendar and months of the year

This formerly read-only archive of threads dates back to 1996, but as of March 2007 is open to new postings. For technical reasons, the early dates shown do not accurately reflect the actual date of posting.

Feel free to add new postings to any of the existing threads in the archived forums, but please create any new language-related threads in one of the Language Discussion Forums.
Post Reply

French revolutionary calendar and months of the year

Post by Archived Topic » Wed Oct 13, 2004 8:39 am

Where do the months of the year which are January, Febuary, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December originate from?

(In addition, and inquiring minds would like to know about the French revolutionary calnedar)
Submitted by ( - )
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Topic imported and archived

French revolutionary calendar and months of the year

Post by Archived Reply » Wed Oct 13, 2004 9:08 am

Dear (-), I appreciate you listing out the months of the year for us. I keep forgetting some of those little suckers and such a compilation is a handy thing to have around. For some history on how our calendar got to have the number of months it has (I think it’s approximately 11), and how our present calendar system was first named after a type of lettuce and then later after an early Roman vaudeville star named Julie – ‘first of the red hot mammas,’ and how the months got their names from early Yiddish cartoon characters, see months of the year / calendar history
__________________________________________________

Ken G – November 18, 2003
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

French revolutionary calendar and months of the year

Post by Archived Reply » Wed Oct 13, 2004 9:22 am

I don't think this has been covered in the Archive - the French Revolutionaries devised different names for the months, to commemorate their liberation. Some English (I believe) wag translated these rather irreverently - I can only remember the last three months' names: Sneezy, Wheezy and Breezy. Can anyone oblige with the full lists?

Thanks, Edwin Ashworth
Reply from ( - )
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

French revolutionary calendar and months of the year

Post by Archived Reply » Wed Oct 13, 2004 9:37 am

Edwin, the references to 'Sneezy, Wheezy and Breezy' that I found on the Web related chiefly to some rather saucy interactions between Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (which could however potentially comprise the back story to an 'adult' version of the classic children's tale).

However that may be, your suggestion made me curious, and I accordingly I have pieced together the basic facts concerning the French revolutionary calendar. Armed with these, perhaps you’d like to take up your own suggestion for renaming its months in English?

Adapted from http://www.mapleapps.com/categories/map ... _Time.html :

The French republican calendar, known also as revolutionary calendar, was used during the French revolution of 1789 for dates between [1792 ,9,22] G and [1805 ,12,31] G. {G indicates the Gregorian calendar.} The year began on the day of the autumnal equinox. The year was divided into 12 months of 30 days plus 5 or 6 complementary days:

vendémiaire (1) ; brumaire (2) ; frimaire (3) ; nivôse (4) ; pluviôse (5) ; ventôse (6) ; germinal (7) ; floréal (8) ; prairial (9) ; messidor (10) ; thermidor (11) ; fructidor (12) ; jours complémentaires (13).
Adapted from http://filebox.vt.edu/vetmed/colmano/:
"The first French Republican "Revolutionary calendar," decreed by the first National Convention of 1793 (which established the Reign of Terror), started at midnight on the day of the autumnal equinox of September 1792, the day from which the existence of the Republic was recognized. It had 12 months of 30 days (plus 5 for festivals, and 6 added every 5 years to match the solar cycles), in 3 decades of 10 days each (that abolished the weeks). The months were renamed, and "germinal" (the month of seeding) started on March 21, following "ventôse" (the month of wind), which started on February 19, and preceded "floréal" (the month of blossom, which commenced on April 20). It was abolished by Napoleon, who returned to the normal calendar, at the end of 1805."

In his book 'The French Revolution', Thomas Carlyle comes closest to dubbing these months into English equivalents (http://www.worldwideschool.org/library/ ... ap133.html):

"Four equal Seasons, Twelve equal Months of thirty days each: this makes three hundred and sixty days; and five odd days remain to be disposed of. The five odd days we will make Festivals, and name the five Sansculottides, or Days without Breeches. Festival of Genius; Festival of Labour; of Actions; of Rewards; of Opinion: these are the five Sansculottides. Whereby the great Circle, or Year, is made complete: solely every fourth year, whilom called Leap-year, we introduce a sixth Sansculottide; and name it Festival of the Revolution. Now as to the day of commencement, which offers difficulties, is it not one of the luckiest coincidences that the Republic herself commenced on the 21st of September; close on the Vernal Equinox? Vernal Equinox, at midnight for the meridian of Paris, in the year whilom Christian 1792, from that moment shall the New Era reckon itself to begin. Vendemiaire, Brumaire, Frimaire; or as one might say, in mixed English, Vintagearious, Fogarious, Frostarious: these are our three Autumn months. Nivose, Pluviose, Ventose, or say Snowous, Rainous, Windous, make our Winter season. Germinal, Floreal, Prairial, or Buddal, Floweral, Meadowal, are our Spring season. Messidor, Thermidor, Fructidor, that is to say (dor being Greek for gift) Reapidor, Heatidor, Fruitidor, are Republican Summer. These Twelve, in a singular manner, divide the Republican Year. Then as to minuter subdivisions, let us venture at once on a bold stroke: adopt your decimal subdivision; and instead of world-old Week, or Se'ennight, make it a Tennight or Decade;--not without results. There are three Decades, then, in each of the months; which is very regular; and the Decadi, or Tenth-day, shall always be 'the Day of Rest.' And the Christian Sabbath, in that case? Shall shift for itself!"
Reply from Erik Kowal ( - England)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

French revolutionary calendar and months of the year

Post by Archived Reply » Wed Oct 13, 2004 10:05 am

Merci beaucoup, Erik

Edwin
Reply from ( - )
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

ACCESS_END_OF_TOPIC
Post Reply