Happy Fructidor, revolutionaries! It’s the fruitiest month of the year. That’s September to you and me. For fifteen years following the French Revolution, they established a new calendar in France. The months were very related to the seasons, what grew, what was ripe to eat, ready to be celebrated. I love the idea, but it didn’t last because the math didn’t work out, and it confounded international trade. You can follow the Wikipedia link to dive deeper into the revolutionary calendar, if you want to. There, I learned something I’d never noticed before.
Look at this and tell me what you see: sept, oct, nov, dec. Don’t think months, think latin, or ‘romance languages’ derived from latin. Do you see the pattern? It’s 7, 8, 9, 10. Possibly one of the reasons I never remarked it is those aren’t the 7th through 10th months. After years of starting the year with Spring, in March, the Romans added January and February, pushing everything else back two months. Months one through eight are named for gods or emperors. In other words, the last four months of the year don’t mean anything.
No wonder Oktoberfest is held in September. The month names which stand for something are over, and the rest of the year runs off the rails. Might as well drink and sing Jon Denver’s ‘Country Roads.’
Oktoberfest reminds me of the subject of an upcoming post! Look out for it.