Firstly, we apologize for being late with this post. Poor Typepad has been under assault, the target of one of those attacks that seem to be the Internet version of a swarm of seventeen-year locusts, or perhaps like a suffocating cloud of the lake flies that come off of Lake Victoria; in any case, the insects of the Internet causing trouble. Our compliments to the Typepad staff who have worked so hard to restore service and our humble blog.
During the attack, Floréal commenced. The second month of the Republican calendar, named for the time of wildflowers bursting into tiny blooms. Le Roy's book tells us that now is when the nightingale begins to fill the dark hours with song:
Chante, rossignol, chante,
Toi qui as le coeur gai!
Pour moi je ne l'ai guère,
Mon amant m'a quitté
Pour un bouton de rose
Qui lui ai refusé!
Je voudrais que la rose
Fut encore le rosier,
Et puis que le rosier
Fut encore à planter!
This was a time when there may have been many newlyweds, for often country marriages were timed in order to take advantage of festivals and feasts, either Carnival or the springtime butchering of a fattened pig at the end of Lent. Newlyweds and all others would be doing their spring planting during Floréal: carrots, buckwheat, oats, beans, potatoes. Though religion was meant to be banned by those who created the Republican calendar, most country folk felt better about their sowing if the local curé took a procession around the fields saying a prayer to ward off late frosts and hail. Le Roy insists that this was a custom even in Roman times, as were the crosses at the entry of each village.
So far as we can tell, the ceremonies are gone, both religious and Republican, but the planting goes on in the countryside. Everyone has prepared their potager and the shops are full of young vegetable plants for those who cannot be bothered with seeds. We have some arugula going in the window.
Perhaps your French ancestor handed down the rhyme about the last day of April, or mid-Floréal:
À la Saint-Robert, tout arbre est vert.
Which should hold true unless he or she emigrated to the southern hemisphere!
©2014 Anne Morddel