AKA the Republican Calendar. Was officially adopted in France on October 24, 1793 and abolished on 1 January 1806 by Emperor Napoleon I.

It was used again briefly during under the Paris Commune in 1871. The French also established a new clock, in which the day was divided in ten hours of a hundred minutes of a hundred seconds - exactly 100,000 seconds per day.

As in most calendars, the year had 12 months - each one of 30 days. There were no weeks - instead each month was divided into three décades of 10 days, of which the final day was a day of rest. This was an attempt to de-Christianize the calendar, but it was an unpopular move, as it reduced the resting days from 1 out of 7 to 1 out of 10.

To compensate for the last 5.24 days of the year, five - sometimes six - additional days were put in the calendar at the end of the year (which was around the 22nd of September - or the 1st of Vendémiaire in Republican Calendar terms.)

As the calendar only lasted for about 14 years, there was only ever three leap years, where the sixth additional day - Revolution day - existed - in the years 3, 7 and 11.
A Republican year consisted of 365 or 366 days, divided into 12 months of 30 days each, followed by 5 or 6 additional days. Those months were: Each month was divided into three décades of 10 days, of which the final day was a day of rest - an attempt to de-Christianize the calendar; unsuccessful because it left a rest day only one in ten rather than one in seven. Even the lumpenproletariat (er... sans-culottes) get a whiff of something rotten when the work-week stretches to 150% what it used to be.

The ten days of each décade were named fairly straightforwardly Primidi, Duodi, Tridi, Quartidi, Quintidi, Sextidi, Septidi, Octidi, Nonidi, Decadi.

The 5 or 6 additional days following the last day of Fructidor went a little like this:

The Republican year was supposed to begin upon autumnal equinox (+- September 22nd) but since this isn't always the same problems arose from the woodwork as the years ticked by. (Not too many problems, mind you, on account of the calendar's only being in use for a period of fourteen years...)

And when did that period begin? Why, they counted starting from the establishment of the first French Republic on September 22nd, 1792, which went down in revised history as 1 Vendemiaire of the year 1 of the Republic. (Revised, mind you, since the Revolutionary Calendar was not introduced until November 24th 1793.)

And that's the rest of the story!

The month and day names were created by poet Fabre D' Eglantine. Each season had the same suffix : -aire for fall, -ose for the winter, -al for spring and -or for summer (because of the gold color of the sun ?). Month prefix reflected the climatic / agricultural spirit of the month, probably to exhalt the agricultural identity of France.

Vendémiaire (from vendanges - vintage)
Brumaire (from Brume - fog)

Nivôse (from the latin for snow)
Pluviôse (from pluvieux - rainy)
Ventôse (from venteux - windy)

Germinal (from germination)
Floréal (from flowers)
Prairial (from prairie)

Messidor (from moisson - harvest)
Thermidor (for thermos -heat)
Fructidor (from fruits)

The saints of every day (like St-Glinglin, St-Jean etc) were also replaced by farm things, like carrot, straw etc.
The officials shot in their own feet from the beginning, allowing their administration employees to take off every sunday, only a few years after introduction.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.