Jour du Muguet (May Day)

1 Mai

The widely-known International Labour Day is celebrated on the first of May. In France, however, this day also holds a very special place in the hearts of the French – Jour du Muguet.

The French celebrate this day slightly differently by giving each other lilies of the valley, also known as Muguets in French. This tradition is dated centuries ago when King Charles IX of France received a lily of the valley as a lucky charm on May 1st 1561. Thereafter, he decided to offer the ladies of the court a lily of the valley on the same day every year.

Bringing time forward to 1900, during the The Belle époque, the great French designers offer a sprig of lily of the valley to their little hands and customers. This became a custom and Christian Dior also made it his favorite flower.

Centuries have passed and it has now become the tradition on May 1st to give lilies of the valley to friends and family as a symbol of springtime and to wish them happiness. It is said that whoever finds a lily of the valley with 13 small bells will be particularly lucky.

In the days leading up to the event, lilies of the valley are sold from roadside stands that pop up all over the country. The ban forbidding flowers to be sold on public streets is lifted on May 1 in honour of the long-standing tradition.

Here in Singapore, you will be able to find some fresh lilies of the valley at your local florists and if you want a lasting scent, there are plenty of lily of the valley scented perfume available in stores.