Sunday, 1 May 2011

Did you know that the French offer each other lily of the valley on the 1st May?

A sprig of lily of the valley ( un brin de muguet) or a bunch ( un bouquet) if you're wealthy (!) is offered to loved ones on the 1st of May ( le premier mai). The tradition goes back to the Renaissance when, in 1561, it is believed,  the king, Charles IX offered some to wish luck ( porter bonheur) to ladies at his court.
Le muguet celebrates Spring ( le printemps) and brings with it ( we hope) lovely sunny days!
It is cultivated intensively around Nantes to be ready for the 1st of May. All the florists all over France sell some and you can also buy some on the streets. It tends to be very expensive, a sprig ( un brin) costs at least 1 euro.
If you are a student in one of our French classes, if you have du muguet in your garden, do bring un brin to your French tutor. She will be delighted!

 

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