I am sure that you are all aware that today is Morille Day. It is also the 13th day of Germinal, the first spring month in the French calendar.
Of course you knew that – because it’s the Republican Calendar. Well at least it was for 12 years from 1793. It was decided that in the modern age and ‘Spirit of Enlightenment’ a new calendar would be created and so a mathematician and a poet were commissioned to create it.
The strength of the agro-economy at the time is indicative because 99% of the names of the days of the year are derived from the countryside. You see, every day if the year has its own individual name, so today is Morille day (Morel mushroom). Yesterday was Pervenche (Periwinkle), June 5th will be Pavot (Poppy), October 10th is Tournesol (Sun Flower), and if you were born on December 28th you were born on Fumier – or Dung day !
What is interesting is that the days reminded the people of seasonal activities in the countryside, so this month we have Ruche (Hive) on the 8th, Lilas (Lilac) on the 14th, Rossignol (Nightingale) on the 23rd, another Mushroom day (Champignon) on 26th and on 29th it’s Rhubarb Day (Rhubarbe). So there was a clear clue for husbandry, harvesting, and enjoyment, day-by-day.
Each month had 30 days with the missing 5 days being industriously called Day of Virtue, Day of Genius, Day of Work, Day of Opinion and Day of Recompense. And this year, being a leap year, there is an additional day, the Fête de la Révolution or Festival of Revolution, just to remind us who created the new age.