Tomorrow is le Premier Mai (May 1st) and in France’ it is known as “la fête du muguet”.
It is the day to present a few sprigs of Muguet (Lily of the Valley) to family, friends, and everybody dear to you. It is considered a lucky charm, and it would be an unforgivable mistake to forget to do so, especially between sweethearts. In the language of flowers, the lily of the valley symbolizes marital happiness.
“Le premier Mai c’est pas gai, Je trime, a dit le muguet,
Muguet, sois pas chicaneur, Car tu donnes du bonheur.” G. Brassens
On that day, “des brins de muguet“ (small bouquets) are sold everywhere on French streets by individuals and charitable organizations… and amazingly for France, you don’t need a license to do so. In my youth, a few friends and I used to bicycle to a little forest around Paris to collect some of these wildflowers. Today it is almost impossible to find any of those, and the muguet is mainly grown in greenhouses.
The origin of this tradition is likely pagan, but it became semi-official when “in the 1560s, King Charles IX of France was presented with du muguet by a knight named Louis de Girard de Maisonforte. The king enjoyed the gift so much that he began to present the ladies of his court with the flowers each year on the first of May.”
If you want to be cool, especially if you want to ingratiate yourself with some lady, offering some sprigs of muguet to her will definitely get you some extra points.
It is said to be way more powerful than a glass of the best Champagne and it will definitely knock the socks off of the person you are wooing.
Joyeuse fête du muguet a tous !