May 01, 2007

May 1

A what seems to be a specific tradition in France May 1 is to give some "lilies of the valley" to ladies you cherish. They are sold in each street corner - as you can see from some samples from this morning. Anybody can sell, but to some extent the sales are made by organisations like the Red Cross (that's where I made my purchasing this morning).


The tradition was started by a French king (Charles IX), May 1, 1561.


The flower has obviously many names. Here in France, we call them "muguets". It's growing in Asia (it seems to have it origins in Japan), Europe and some parts of North America. At least here in France, the white flowers are in general ready for May 1. If you leave them a bit longer, they get slightly red.


Another May 1 tradition is linked to what you usually call the "Labour Day", but may also be called "May Day", "Loyalty Day"... May 1, 1866 the American labour unions obtained the rights to work only 8 hours, but not yet for everybody (it took decades...). The following days strikes and demonstrations took place and several people (demonstrators and policemen) were killed in Chicago, many condemned and some hanged. The Second International (socialist) decided during their congress in Paris in 1889 to make May 1 a symbolic date. In 1920, the Soviet Russia decided to make it an offical holiday (perhaps not the best word here; anyhow a not-working-day). Many countries have followed, France since 1941.

6 comments:

Shionge said...

Happy Labour Day Peter and no I didn't know that lilies are given to ladies at all in France how interesting ;D

Peter said...

shionge, Singapore is a bit far away, but a symbolic "muguet" to you and all other ladies!

Peter said...

I forgot to mention that this lily is also the national flower of Finland. I guess they there come a bit later in the season.

lyliane said...

Thanks for the muguet, mais en France il n ´est pas seulememt offert aux dames, mais aussi à tes amis et ta famille.Voila pourquoi une tante m´avait dit que Lyliane s´écrivait avec un y, parce que ce prénom venait de Lys, une autre magnifique fleur symbole de la France et du Québec.

Cergie said...

L'an dernier j'ai parlé aussi du muguet pour mes visiteurs étrangers... (Un ou deux par message). Tu te rens compte ! Déjà un an !
Et cette année je n'ai pas publié le jour du premier mai

Que serai-je et toi que seras tu dans un an ?

stephanie said...

La tradition du premier mai remonte à l'Antiquité : c'était la date à laqauelle les navigateurs reprenaient la mer.
Mais depuis la fin du XIXème siècle, le premier mai est un jour férié commémorant ce jour de 1886 où les syndicats américains demandèrent à plus de 400 000 travailleurs de descendre dans les rues pour l'obtention de la journée de 8 heures de travail.
Depuis ce jour, le premier mai est traditionnellement la journée des revendications sociales.

Dès la Renaissance, le muguet est une fleur porte-bonheur et son utilisation comme symbole du premier mai remonte à deux faits : le premier mai 1895, le chansonnier Mayol (auteur du célèbre "Viens poupoule !") rencontre son amie Jenny Cook avec du muguet à sa boutonnière. De plus, dans les années 1900, les couturiers offraient, le premier mai, des brins de muguet aux clientes.
Depuis, le muguet est omniprésent lors de la fête du travail.