To continue the topic about the French people and their culture, I would like to tell you about the French calendar (le calendrier). If you’re still curious to read about unusual habits of French people, you can do it here « French people : who are they? »
In opposition to the usual calendar, on the French one you can see all the holidays and the name days that exist in France. We can also use this calendar as agenda and write down there some important days.
15 days are 2 weeks?
It is also interesting to know that for the French people one week is eight days (huit jours) and two weeks are fifteen days (quinze jours). But don’t worry, these are just expressions. In modern French the expression « huit jours » is quite rare, but « quinze jours » we can hear more often. They say « on se verra dans quinze jours », which literally can be translated as « we will see each other in fifteen days », but they want to mean only « we will see each other in two weeks ».Why it is like that ? I can agree, to say « quinze jours » is easier then « quatorze jours ». Indeed, they like to simplify words. For example, instead of « le petit déjeuner » they can say « le p’tit dej ».
But to know exactly, to my mind, we should go to the past until the VII-VI centuries B.C when the Roman calendar was created. At the beginning, the Roman people had eight days in a week. They were called « nundinae » and were indicated as A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H. Later, they divided month into four unequal periods, as they already had 30-31 days in a month. These four periods we call « weeks ». For the month of 30 days there was a period of 8 days. The next period was followed by 7 days. It was repeated four times (one month). Logically, « une quinzaine » or fifteen days is a period of eight days followed by the period of seven days. In sum it is 15. Nowadays the French people have an expression « dans une huitaine de jours » which means « in about one week ».
Now let’s speak about the seasons (les saisons). There are some countries, like Ukraine, Belarus, Russia where winter starts the 1st of December and summer starts the 1st of June, autumn – the 1st of September and spring – the 1st of March. But in other countries, including France, it is not like that. The seasons start according to the equinox and it changes a little from year to year. This year (2015) spring will come to France the 20th of March, summer will come the 21st of June, autumn – the 22nd of September and winter – the 22nd of December.