Muguet Porte Bonheur

(E) La tradition du 1er mai – offrez un bouquet de muget, ça porte bonheur – the tradition of May 1st – give a bouquet of lily of the valley, it brings good luck.

To learn more about May 1st, from the Alliance Francaise in Silicon Valley

On May 1st, 1886, in the United States, workers went on strike to request an 8-hour day of work. This strike was historic because, at that time, the daily working time was more like 12 or 14 hours. Unfortunately, there were many injuries and deaths during this event. But the positive impact of the strike was seen a few decades later, as the 8-hour workday was accepted in 1919.

May 1st became a day of mourning in honor of the victims and a day of protest for the workers’ unions.

So why today in France are they talking about the “Fête du Travail on May 1st? In 1941, May 1st became a public holiday in France, and since 1947, employees are paid for this holiday. Each year the “Fête du Travail” makes room for peaceful demonstrations of workers’ unions to make their voices heard.

And why are they offering “du muguet (lily-of-the-valley) porte bonheur” on May 1st in France? To understand this, we need to go back to May 1st, 1561. King Charles IX received a bit of lily-of-the-valley luck. For the following years, he decided to offer the women of the court a bit of lily-of-the-valley as a lucky char

A few hundred years later, under the Vichy regime in France, the lily-of-the-valley became the symbol of Labour Day and is, therefore, the symbol of May Day in France.

Note: The picture above is un brin de muguet.

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