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Happy "Fête du Muguet"!
May 1st in France is known as "La Fête du Muguet" (Lily of the Valley Day) and is a day when people give small bouquets of lily of the valley to loved ones, friends, and acquaintances.
It was in the 16th century that the tradition of offering lily of the valley was born. At that time, the feast of love was not on Valentine's Day, but on May 1st. Princes and lords made wreaths of flowers and offered them to their beloved.
King Charles IX of France was presented with a bouquet of lily of the valley as a token of good luck and happiness for the upcoming year.
The king was so pleased with the gift that he began presenting lily of the valley bouquets to the ladies of his court every year on May 1st.
Over time, the tradition of giving lily of the valley on May 1st spread throughout France and became a popular way to celebrate the arrival of spring and the beginning of the month of May.
The custom is to offer three sprigs of lily of the valley, made up of 13 bells each, to bring luck to the recipient.
Today, it is common to see street vendors selling small bouquets of lily of the valley on May 1st, and many people also give the flowers as a gift to friends and family.
As a side note, while Lily of the Valley Day and Labor Day both take place on May 1, these two celebrations don't have much else in common. Labor Day, whose origins date back to the United States in 1884, commemorates the struggle of workers to get better working conditions.
I wish we had this “muguet” tradition in the US. It’s a beautiful one, especially in this day and age…
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