La Fête du Muguet

La Fête du Muguet, La Fête du Travail, May Day in France is a public holiday to campaign for and celebrate workers’ rights. It is also an occasion to present  Muguet, lily-of-the-valley, or dog rose flowers to loved ones. Often it is just a single sprig of Muguet with a few leaves. However, some will incorporate a rose or even add several sprigs of Muguet to a much larger arrangement or plant.

How is the day celebrated: People across France give bouquets (or a single sprig) to their loved ones. In some areas, families will get up early to go into the woods to pick the flowers. Labor organizations will sell the flowers on the streets on May 1. Special regulations enable individuals and some groups to sell the flowers on May 1 without complying with retail regulations or paying a tax.

Parades and demonstrations to campaign for the rights of workers are organized by Trade unions and other organizations.  Campaigns for human rights and other pressing and current social issues will be out in number.

May 1 is a public holiday. Businesses will be closed as well as banks, post offices, and shops. Other than a high traffic tourist area restaurants and even cafes may close. In the major cities, the airport, railway station along the highways (tolls)  may be open.  There could be disruption to traffic in the heart of large cities especially Paris due to Parades and demonstrations. There could also be limited access to Public transportation so check before setting out.

On May 1, 1561, King Charles IX of France was presented with Muguet and was so enamored of the gift that he instituted the tradition of presenting them to the ladies of his court. In 1900 men began presenting them to women as an expression of affection or interest. Today, they are given as a token of affection/appreciation between family members and close friends.

When the eight-hour working day was made official on 23 April 1919 the first of May became a public holiday. During World War II, the holiday ceased but was resumed in 1947. One year later, it became known as La Fête du Travail or Labor Day. It is a day used to campaign for and celebrate the rights of workers across the Country.

Don’t forget to click on those photos!

 

  Bisous,

Léa

16 thoughts on “La Fête du Muguet

    1. Yes. It is “going on today” but on a more limited fashion this year. I purchase some Muget when I was in town doing my shopping then delivered to a few friends today. We are still in lockdown and are fortunate to be in a “green area where the virus has been kinder. However, nobody here is interested in rushing out the door prematurely…

  1. Such lovely photos Lea. In my home country labor day is celebrated by simply people and labor unions going out on the streets to protest. This labor day celebration in your country by giving out flowers is i think really wonderful…the world is in so much trouble now so a protest will be a burden too.

    1. When people are mistreated, taken advantage of, I feel protests are necessary and France has often protested and gone on strike. But we do have sweet times as well which I think are made even sweeter by the willingness to protect the rights of the individual. Thank you.

      1. Unfortunately, those with anything intelligent to say are being silenced. They are certainly not being listened to.

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