Happy May Day!

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. And if you can find some Lily of the Valley to give to a friend, all the better.

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 like to share 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, during the Renaissance.

Click here to read an excellent article by Margo Lestz,  about this sweet tradition and all the history behind it.

Here’s another post about the tradition from Kristin Espinasse, everyone’s favourite scribe of daily French life.

Four 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 on May 1st 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.

A vivid memory of that rainy morning, is of an elderly woman sitting under an umbrella beside her small stand of bouquets of muguets. It wasn’t an appropriate picture to take … and no time to stop in the midst of traffic … but I’ve never forgotten the image. Does this happen to you sometimes when you travel? Your eye is the shutter and a particular image is captured forever in your memory?

Le muguet or lily of the valley represents a porte-bonheur, a good luck charm, to special people in your life.  I am offering one to each of you.

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

About Patricia Sands

Family, writing and travel are my passions ... okay, and chocolate ... and I'm seldom without a camera. I write women's fiction and keep in touch with readers by a monthly newsletter that also has giveaways and contests. Come and join us by signing up on the right. See you there!

Comments

  1. Carol Jarvis says

    What a lovely surprise! and just what this rainy morning needed to brighten my day!
    Merci Patricia!

  2. Lily of the valley smells SO good!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing the photos. Happy May Day!

  4. What a lovely tradition. It’s hard to find Lily of the Valley flowers. They are so delicate.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Patricia Sands says

      Yes, I love that tradition … so simple and sweet. One particular year we were having a long driving day from Paris to Sarlat and I loved seeing people selling these little bouquets or pots in every single town or village, no matter how small.

  5. Patricia Sands says

    What a lovely surprise! Mille mercis!

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