Calendrier- French Revolution Calendar shows today's date in the French Revolution Calendar, as well as the current decimal time and the dédicace of the day. It also allows to convert Gregorian dates to Republican dates and to find information about the different dédicaces of the Calendar
On 24th October 1793 the Convention adopted in France a new calendar based on a decimal system. It had been designed during that year by the Committee of Public Instruction with the objective of introducing a rational organization in the calendar. The structure and rules of the calendar were defined by the politician Charles Gilbert Romme. The poet Fabre d'Énglantine invented the names of the months.
The calendar consisted of 12 months of 30 days each, with 5 extra days (6 in a leap year) to match the solar year. Instead of seven-days weeks, the months were divided on three ten-days weeks called décades.
Besides, the National Convention decided to reform the time measures with an easier and rational decimal time. Each day was divided in 10 hours, so that the fifth hour was noon, and the tenth was midnight. Each hour had 100 decimal minutes, and each decimal minute, 100 decimal seconds.
Unfortunately, the weight of tradition and custom was heavier than these reforms. The decimal time was only used officially for six months, and the calendar, for three years. Now with Calendrier, you can enjoy that great idea on your iPhone.
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To give it a bit of XVIIIth Century flavour to the Dédicaces, we've tried to use whenever possible pictures and engravings made in the XVIIIth and XIXth century. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to find a picture of those characteristics for all dédicaces, and some of them use a modern photograph. If you happen to know a royalty-free picture of any of the dédicaces that doesn't have it, or own one that you're willing to donate, get in touch with us. Of course, you will be credited in this site for your invaluable help.
We will finish with the touching words with which Fabre d'Églantine explained its proposal of the dédicaces, a really beautiful text showing a great devotion for people's betterment and education:
"Since the calendar is something one has often recourse to, we should take advantage of this frequent use to introduce among the people elementary rural notions; to show them the riches of nature; to make them love the fields, and to point out to them with some system the order of the influences of the heavens and of the productions of the earth. The priest had assigned to each day of the year the commemoration of a pretended saint. This catalogue presents neither utility nor method. We have thought that the nation, after having driven away from its calendar this crowd of the canonized, ought to find in place of it all the objects which compose the true national wealth, objects worthy, if not of its worship, at least of its cultivation: the useful productions of the earth, the instruments which are used to cultivate it, and the domestic animals, our faithful servants in these labors, animals much more valuable no doubt in the eyes of reason that the beatified skeletons drawn from the catacombs of Rome. Consequently we have arranged in order, in the column of each month, the names of the true treasures of rural economy. The grains, the trees, the roots, the flowers, the fruits and the plants, are arranged in the calendar so that the place and the date which each production occupies are precisely the time and the day when nature presents it to us. At each Quintidi, that is, at each semi-décade, the 5th, 15th and 25th of each month, there is inscribed the name of a domestic animal, with precise relation between the date of this inscription and the real utility of the animal named. Each Decadi is marked with the name of an agricultural implement, the very one the agriculturist uses at the precise time at which it is placed. Thus the husbandman on the day of rest will find consecrated in the calendar the implement he is to take up again the next day; a touching idea, it seems to me, which will show our nurse-fathers that with the Republic has come the time when a farmer is more steemed than all the kings of the earth put together, and agriculture counted as the first of the arts of civil society. It is easy to see that by this method there will not be a citizen of France who, from his tenderest youth, has not made, insensibly and without perceiving it, an elementary study of rural economy".
Text taken from The French Republican Calendar and Some Others, Lamont, R. Popular Astronomy, vol. 28, pp. 90-99