Search Results for: claire mcalpine la fete de muguet

May 1st ~ a very special day in France

Bonne fête du muguet!

I recycle this post every year because I don’t want to change anything about it. If you read it last year … or the year before , I hope you enjoy it again. Listen to the cheerful May 1st video and do a happy dance!

En mai, fais ce qu’il te plait!

Provençal proverb ~ In May, do what pleases you!

2013-06-09 09.51.55

Here’s my May 1st muguet to each of you.

Every May 1st I love to talk about one of my favourite traditions in France ~ La Fête du Travail or La Fête du Muguet. The day is a national holiday ~ International Workers’ Day, like Labour Day in North America. But more than that it is an occasion when people give little bouquets or sprigs or pots of  le muguet (lily of the valley) to each other. Like so many of the things we love about France, the tradition has lasted for centuries. It began in 1561.

In my early years of blogging, I read a post by my friend, the talented writer/reviewer Claire McAlpine and I like sharing her story each year. It’s sweet, and explains the tradition so well.

Please click here to read it.

Two years ago, my husband and I had just finished a magical stay (but then isn’t it always?) in Paris and the Loire Valley. We were driving south to the Dordogne region and in every town, big or small, this was the scene. Even on a drizzly day. I loved it!

Dordogne and Les Muguets

Dordogne and Les Muguets 2

Dordogne and Les Muguets - Version 2

Obviously, young or old, everyone puts a lot of thought into this tradition.

Le muguet or lily of the valley represents a porte bonheur, a good luck charm, to special people in your life.  Sing along!

Does your culture or country have a special May 1st tradtion?

How sweet is this?

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

May 1st is celebrated in many different ways around the world. France has a particularly sweet custom and my friend,  book reviewer and blogger Claire McAlpine, wrote a lovely post about that very topic. I’m happy to share it with you today.

Au mois de mai, fais ce qu’il te plait.

In the month of May do what your heart fancies.

Provencal proverb

So today I feel like sharing a little bit of French culture with you, the 1st of May is a public holiday in France for the Fête du Travail and the day you will find people offering Le Muguet (Lily of the Valley) to their friends, neighbours and acquaintances, a tradition that began during the Renaissance in 1561, when Charles IX offered them to his subjects as a symbol of porte-bonheur or good luck.

Now associated with the Fête du Travail on 1 May, anyone can sell the flower on the street without requiring a licence or permission. Today I walked into the centre-ville and came across many people who are spending their day, sharing the magic of Le Muguet with the public.

The first year I came to live in France, I learned of the tradition when my next door neighbour knocked on the door and presented me with this delightful flower, explaining its significance.

Six months into adapting to this life, language and culture, it was a welcome gesture and reminded me how important it is to reach out to others, even if they appear to be coping, we can all do with a little ‘porte-bonheur’ from time to time.

Claire was a special guest on my blog a few weeks ago. If you haven’t had time to visit her wonderful Word By Word  blog, I hope you find the time soon. You’ll be glad you did!

Isn’t that a lovely custom? Lily Of The Valley is one of my favourite flowers and something I eagerly anticipated discovering in bloom in my garden when I lived in the country. I would pick a sizeable bouquet and deeply inhale the intoxicating perfume. It was such a harbinger of spring!

This year I spent May 1st, like every other day right now (except for Tuesday when I golfed  – YES! I took a day off and it was heaven!)  at the computer madly attempting to get closer to the end of my WIP … I’m SO close I can almost touch it. How did you spend the day? Does your community celebrate in any special way?