France - Labour Day

Labour Day

This year: Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Is there a single person in the world, who has never heard about Labour Day? I do not think so! This is one of few holidays that are celebrated almost in every country. In France, like in most other countries, it is a bank holiday, which means that on this day, called Labour Day, nobody actually works! That is a comical thing to notice. But France has a bit different approach to the holiday than the rest of the world.

In France nobody is waiting for May 1 to relax at home and spend some more time with the family. It might seem strange, but it falls on the same day with the Lily of the Valley Festival. That is a big celebration for those, who love flowers, especially lilies of the valley, because on this day they are sold on every corner. People present them to their nearest and dearest. Some people press and keep them, because they believe that these flowers bring fortune and good luck. If a man presents a woman with this flower, it means that their relationship is serious and will be long-lasting.

Once there used to be a lot of legends and superstitions connected with May 1 in France. They believed that only on this day all the plants and things get the biggest magic powers. For example, dew gathered before the sunrise on May 1 was considered to be very powerful. People believed that it makes the skin softer and prevents it from diseases.

A tree was an essential part of all May ceremonies. Its branches, fronds and leaves have always had a certain sacred meaning. The same can be said about bunches of flowers. Each flower meant something special: roses mean passion, lilies of valley - bring luck, chamomiles - serenity and pacification. So every single bunch was made with some idea and purpose. So, as a token of friendship, respect and love, one could give hawthorn, oak or poplar. The girls with a bad character were often presented with holly and a branch of elder was always given to a sluggard. Thus, according to this tradition, every person could understand, what flowers say!

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