What Was The French Revolutionary Calendar?



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The French revolutionary calendar was adopted after the French Revolution (1789–99), a movement that overthrew the monarchy, the government headed by a king or queen, and established a republic, a government based on a constitution (a document specifying laws). The French revolutionary calendar was in effect from November 24, 1793, until December 31, 1805. It was computed from September 22, 1792, the day after the proclamation of the republic and was divided into twelve months of thirty days each: Vendémaire (vintage month); Brumaire (fog); Frimaire (sleet); Nivôse (snow); Pluvôse (rain); Ventôse (wind); Germinal (seed); Floréal (blossom); Prairial (pasture); Messidor (harvest); Thermidor (heat); Fructidor (fruit). The remaining five days, called sans-culottides, were feast days named for Virtue, Genius, Labor, Reason, and Rewards. In a leap year, when there is an extra day, the last day of the year was Revolution Day. There was no week, and each month was divided into three periods of ten days each, with every tenth day being a day of rest.

The French Revolutionary calendar was adopted because it was considered more scientific and rational than the Gregorian calendar. For example, the months of the French Revolutionary calendar were given names associated with the seasons. Another reason for the calendar's adoption was that French Revolutionary leaders wanted to avoid any connection with Christianity, so they abandoned saints'-day names and Christian festivals, naming each of the days in the year for a seed, tree flower, fruit, animal, or tool.

Further Information: French Revolutionary Calendar.[Online] Available http://people.we.mediaone. net/kelsung/other/calendar/french.htm, October 25, 2000; "French Revolutionary Calendar." Electric Library.[Online] Available http://www.encyclopedia.com/articles/04749.html, October 25, 2000.

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