Happy May Day! In France, today marks Labor Day as well as La Fête du Muguet, celebrating the arrival of spring. Men wear a sprig of lily of the valley — also known as muguet, May bells or May lily — in their lapel, and women are given fresh bouquets of the flower.
The tradition dates back to the first of May, 1561, when the country’s 10-year-old King Charles was presented with a bunch of the white blossoms — a gesture symbolizing luck, happiness and prosperity. As the story goes, he was so touched, he continued the tradition on the same day every year thereafter by offering lily of the valley to the ladies of his court — and the custom continues today.
More to explore in Culture
- Culture Meet the Artist: Katherine Bernhardt Mon, Oct 12, 2015
- Culture Spotlight On: Voltz Clarke Gallery’s Blair Clarke Fri, Oct 9, 2015
- Culture To Do: Shooting For Stardust at Taschen Gallery Thu, Oct 8, 2015
- Culture To Do: The Fabric of India at the Victoria & Albert Museum Tue, Oct 6, 2015
- Culture To Read: Eric Morse’s What Is Punk? Sun, Oct 4, 2015