My Tangent – New French Republican/Revolutionary Calendar

17 October 2010


In genealogy and in the search of my ancestry and family branches, apart from having to use my limited French translation skills, I now have to learn a new conversion skill.

France, after the French Revolution, instituted a completely new calendar and dating schemata. It began with Year One of the Republic. The months were changed and introduced as 30-day months. Each of the 12 months, sub-divided into four three-month quarters, were three 10-day weeks with five, six in leap years, left-over days each year. The five or six extra days were added on as national holidays at the end of every year.

To make it a bit more confusing, especially for the modern day family genealogist and researcher, each of the 360 days were each given an individual name. If the day ended with a 5 it was given the name of an animal. If it ended with a 0 the name given was that of a tool… And all other days were either a plant or a mineral.

All I can imagine are the number of hours each school day used just teaching calendar memorization. Can you picture the row-on-row of young school children repeating? Vendémiare, Brumaire, FrimaireNivôse, Pluviôse, and Ventôse. Germinal, Floréal, Prairial… Messidor, Themidor, and Fructidor. These are the 12 months.

And then on to memorizing 360 individually named days. (I flunk.)

Some French Republican or Revolutionary Calendar reference sites:



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