During the French Revolution, the traditional system of patronage was overthrown and a number of artists (the most famous of which is David) and poets began to take an active role in participating in and shaping their government. One poet, Fabre d'Eglantine, was given the task of renaming French notions of time, or, in particular, days, weeks and the calendar year. Agronomist Charles Gilbert Romme and his team of astronomers, politicians, and mathematicians came up with the Republican calendar (i.e. a ten week day (based off the metric ten), with a ten-hour day, with a 100 decimal minute hour, with a 100 decimal second minute. An hour then becomes twice as long as a conventional hour, a minute becomes slightly longer than a conventional minute, and a second becomes slightly shorter than a conventional second. The More You Know!).
There were twelve months, comprised of three ten-day weeks (décades), with the tenth day, décadi, replacing Sunday as the day of rest and festivity. The five or six extra days left over when one approximates the solar year ended up at the very end of the year as holidays. Leap years became "Franciade" to commemorate how it had taken four years for the French Revolution to establish a republic. The leap year itself was called Sextile, because it contained a sixth complimentary day.
The names of the days of the week are pretty basic (Primidi, Duodi, etc.) but the names of the month are suitably Romantic and poetic, as the months, split up into four groups, rhyme three and three, to demonstrate the sonority of the seasons. The names of the months themselves are taken from nature (i.e. Brumaire is taken from the French 'brume', which means fog; ergo, Brumaire is the month of fog).
The months were:
|1 Vendémiaire||7 Germinal|
|2 Brumaire||8 Floréal|
|3 Frimaire||9 Prairial|
|4 Nivôse||10 Messidor|
|5 Pluviôse||11 Thermidor|
|6 Ventôse||12 Fructidor|
British detractors translated the months as Wheezy, Sneezy and Freezy; Slippy, Drippy and Nippy; Showery, Flowery and Bowery; Wheaty, Heaty and Sweety.