The Chair of Crewkerne & District U3A Sheila Seymour introduced members to the French Revolutionary Calendar at the organisations January meeting. Sheila explained that the new calendar was created in 1793, at the time of the guillotine when the King and Queen of France and hundreds of aristocrats were sentenced to death. Sheila said: “Like monarchy, religion was abolished, to be replaced by the principles of logic and people were called Citizen and wore the clothes of the working classes. The rule of logic was applied to the calendar which was devised along metric lines.”
Wearing a red cockade hat similar to that worn by the French revolutionaries, Sheila handed round a version of the French Revolutionary Calendar to members so they could look up their birthdays. The months of the year were divided into three 10 day weeks with the remaining five or six days given titles such as the Holiday of Labour and Holiday of the Revolution. Members were surprised to hear that the French celebrated Manure Day on December 28th and among others they also marked Tobacco Day on July 4th and Wallflower Day on May 2nd. Sheila said: “It caused quite a stir as members laughed at the revelation that they were born under the sign of the watering can, the turnip or the dandelion, but nobody admitted to having been born on Manure Day.”
Sheila ended her talk entitled ‘So When Is My Birthday Citizen Robespierre?’ with the news that the calendar was scrapped by Napoleon in 1805 and had proved less successful than the production of Les Miserables which has been running on stage in London for more than 30 years.