Friday, November 07, 2008

Revolutionary fact number three - yes, there's plenty more

Another change to the French calendar in post-Revolutionary times was the renaming of the months. The autumn months were changed to Vendémiaire, Brumaire and Frimaire - harvest, mist and cold. The winter months were changed to Nivose, Pluviose and Ventose - snow, rain and wind.
The spring months became Germinal, Floréal and Prairial -seed time, flowering time and meadow. Finally, the three summer months became Messidor, Thermidor and Fructidor meaning summer harvest, summer heat and summer fruit.

Now the Brits thought this was all a load of bunkum (there's a surprise!) and some bright spark produced a satirical version of these new names, calling them:

Slippy, Nippy, Drippy; Freezy, Wheezy, Sneezy; Showery, Flowery, Bowery; Wheaty, Heaty, Sweety.

Everyone must have been very anxious not to be the one to make a mistake with the new system of hours in a day, days in a week and days in a month, new names for everything. It's hard enough sometimes to remember what day it is, let alone if everything has been completely changed.

However, as ' the secret of being a bore is to tell everything' (Voltaire 1737), I'm going to save the rest for next time.

12 comments:

Carol and Chris said...

I do rather like the new names that they chose for the months!! Not sure that would work in Thailand...you don't really get seasons....so for winter you would need variations on hot, summer variations on very hot and Autumn variations on very hot and very wet!! Not got the same ring to it really has it....

C x

French Fancy said...

I like the names too but, of course, after 1806 it all went back to normal. How confusing for young children who had only known the new ways.

When I went to Bangkok I still remember the wave of heat that came at me as I got off the plane. It was like being in a sauna. I suppose you must have got used to the humidity by now. I hope you won't be too cold back in the UK.

Dumdad said...

Slippy, Nippy, Drippy; Freezy, Wheezy, Sneezy; Showery, Flowery, Bowery; Wheaty, Heaty, Sweety

Sounds like Snow White and her 12 dwarves.

blogthatmama said...

I love those names, wish we had them now although our Yorkshire winter would probably need a few more cold ones.

willow said...

Interesting! I kind of like the notion that my birthday would be Mist 20th. ;^)

Bill Stankus said...

If we didn't have revisionist history would there be any history at all?

French Fancy said...

Probably not Bill, no. Whatever primary source documents I have as part of my course, it only gives a slight flavour of what it must have been like to have been caught up in that moment.

History isn't what actually happened, it's just what the historians say happened. Imagine in 200 years time what they'll say about the Bush/Blair years of now.

I hope that all made some kind of sense

Anonymous said...

I like these.

E. L. Doctorow:
History is the present. That's why every generation writes it anew. But what most people think of as history is its end product, myth.


Benjamin Disraeli:
Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.


George Bernard Shaw:
We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.



Jawaharial Nehru:
A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the sound of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.

The last for all oppressed peoples.

nikkicrumpet said...

I'm still thinking you're pulling our legs with some of this stuff lol. But at least the names make sense!

French Fancy said...

hello anonymous - all good quotes but I especially like the Disraeli one. One of my biggest regrets about living in France is having no access to a good public library that has the sort of books I like to read. There is an expat one very near full of 'airport novels' (nothing wrong with those really) and a good French one but my choices are a bit limited there.

I do get a lot of books and primary source publications with the OU but - after my shoe and boot expenditure, books follow a close second. I love reading biographies.

nikkicrumpet - Just imagine the average French household in the 18C when all this stuff began. I'm amazed it lasted as long as it did.

Blu said...

Bloomin lovely new names lets reinstate them.. I wonder which one we are in now???

French Fancy said...

Aren't they beautiful. I would guess we are in either Brumaire or Frimaire - mist or cold. Nippy or Drippy in the satirical version.