The 1st of May has come, and as every year, I will miss the ‘muguet’ or Lily of the valley.

muguetThe first of May is ‘la Fête du travail’ in France, the equivalent of ‘labour day’. It is a bank holiday that has its origin in workers’ revendications for the eight-hour working day. In France, it has become a day where nobody works, except for ‘muguet’ sellers! In my opinion, it’s a very depressing day, there isn’t a shop or café opened (maybe it has changed now), there is no public transport, but the worse is that all the streets are deserted. They are deserted, except by the independent sellers of ‘muguet’. Indeed, anyone is allowed to sell ‘muguet’ without any authorisation or without having to pay taxes on that day, so they are the only ones seen working.

If I don’t like the 1st of May, I do love Lily of the Valley. It is a symbol of the beginning of spring, but also of friendship and luck. And I must admit, I do miss that French tradition of offering it on the 1st of May. Strangely enough, I’ve never seen any in Ireland…

As we are talking about muguet, it would be difficult to avoid sharing with you that song that many French pupils had to learn in school, ‘Le Temps du Muguet’.