Happy May Day! Today is not only Labor Day in France, and a public holiday, but the Fête du Muguet! Looking through my postcard album today, I couldn’t help but be drawn to so many flowers. Japan has any number of traditions associated with specific flowers, the cherry blossom season in particular comes to mind, as does France! May 1st here is synonymous with the Lily-of-the-Valley (muguet).
While it was only in the 20th century that May 1st became Labor Day, the tradition of giving your friends and loved ones Lily-of-the-Valley has been around since the Renaissance! Charles IX gave his friends muguet in 1561 as a porte-bonheur or good luck charm–it has been a symbol of wealth, happiness and luck ever since! Originally, families would go out to the woods and hunt for their own muguet to bring home. Today, wherever you go in France, you will find little stands or even just random people on the side of the road selling lily-of-the-valley bouquets. Normally to sell anything in France, you must have quiet a bit of official paperwork in order, however, French authorities tolerate these little one-day stands. 80% of France’s muguet production comes from Anthony’s home city Nantes. It is also the only flower whose sale is associated with a single day of the year here–getting it to flower at exactly the right moment is practically a science! As I head off to buy a bit of luck, I wish you and your family all the happiness and love in the world! Enjoy your day off!