Pataphysical calendar  

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Ubu Roi (King Ubu) is a play developed by Alfred Jarry premiered on December 10 1896, and is widely acknowledged as a theatrical precursor to the Absurdist, Dada and Surrealist art movements.
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Ubu Roi (King Ubu) is a play developed by Alfred Jarry premiered on December 10 1896, and is widely acknowledged as a theatrical precursor to the Absurdist, Dada and Surrealist art movements.

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Pataphysical calendar begins as a French student joke first perpetuated by Alfred Jarry, creator of fictional characters Père Ubu and Docteur Faustroll. The calendar was formatted similar to the contemporary French Catholic Calendar.

The first calendar was published by Jarry in L'Almanach du Père Ubu, illustré (Fasquelle, 1899) and was titled « calendrier du Père Ubu », Jarry later produced a second version also titled L'Almanach illustré du Père Ubu (Fasquelle, 1901), but is not until after Jarry's death in 1907, that the calendar is instated (1948) under the auspices of the Collège de ’Pataphysique which, in its statutes presents it like this:


Pataphysical calendar

The pataphysical calendar is a variation of the Gregorian calendar. The Collège de 'Pataphysique created the calendar in 1949. The pataphysical era (E.P.) started on Jarry's birthday, 8 September 1873 vulg. When converting pataphysical dates to Gregorian dates, the appendage (vulg.) for vulgate ("common") is added.

The week starts on a Sunday. Every 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd is a Sunday and every 13th day of a month falls on a Friday (see Friday the 13th). Each day is assigned a specific name or saint. For example, the 27 Haha (1 November vulg.) is called Template:Lang-fr or the 14 Sable (14 December vulg.) is the day of Template:Lang-fr.

The year has a total of 13 months each with 29 days. The 29th day of each month is imaginary with two exceptions:

  • the 29 Gidouille (13 July vulg.) is always non-imaginary
  • the 29 Gueules (23 February vulg.) is non-imaginary during leap years

The table below shows the names and order of months in a pataphysical year with their corresponding Gregorian dates and approximate translations or meanings by Hugill.

Pataphysical year
Month Starts Ends Translation
Absolu 8 September 5 October Absolute
Haha 6 October 2 November Ha Ha
As 3 November 30 November Skiff
Sable 1 December 28 December Sand or heraldic black
Décervelage 29 December 25 January Debraining
Gueules 26 January 22/23 February Heraldic red or gob
Pédale 23/24 February 22 March Bicycle pedal
Clinamen 23 March 19 April Swerve
Palotin 20 April 17 May Ubu's henchmen
Merdre 18 May 14 June Pshit
Gidouille 15 June 13 July Spiral
Tatane 14 July 10 August Shoe or being worn out
Phalle 11 August 7 September Phallus

For example:

  • 8 September 1873 (vulg.) = 1 Absolu 1
  • 1 January 2000 (vulg.) = 4 Décervelage 127
  • 10 November 2012 (vulg.)(Saturday) = 8 As 140 (Sunday)





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Pataphysical calendar" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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