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A day celebrated around the globe as May Day, but as well to many countries (France and Britain included) as Labor Day, as well as International Workers’ Day.
But we cannot forget that it is also the day to celebrate the exchanging of the Lily of the Valley bloom in France.
Lily of the Valley Day, also known as La Fête du Travail (National Labour Day), began with France’s King Charles IX on the first of May in 1561, who being more than somewhat superstitious, when upon receiving a muguet flower (lily of the valley) as a good luck charm, appreciated it so much that he decided to offer them to the ladies of his court in subsequent years on May 1st as a sign of bonne chance (good luck) and bonheur (happiness). And with that the annual traditional expression of good will began in France.
A flower that signifies many auspicious characteristics, the Celts have long considered the Lily of the Walley to be a symbol of spring, the time of renewal and luck as well.
As many of you may remember, Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, held a simple, yet stunning bouquet on her wedding day on April 29, 2011, and it consisted of primarily Lily of the Valley, of which many experts shared could have been harvested from an English country garden.
Audrey Hepburn was known to love the flower, and in fact as part of her wedding bouquet for her wedding to Mel Ferrer, they were included (as well as her bouquet in the film Funny Face). Grace Kelly on her wedding day, held a small, yet sophitciated cluster of Lily of Valley, whereas Princess Diana’s grand bouquet, while composed of many white varietals, included amongst it Lily of the Valley as well.
With an abundance of history, beauty that is simple, yet spectacular in its unique way, and significance, understandably it is a favorite flower of many. And what better way to welcome in one of the most beautiful months of spring than with the giving of a spring or a bouquet of Lily of the Valley to a friend?
In fact, why not grow your own? (Note: They are poisonous plants, so do not let your pets or children, or you, yourself, nibble on them.) Still available, here are a few tubers to be enjoyed next year. And if you prefer to have your Lily of the Valley in a different form, perhaps a teacup and saucer or a teapot? Or as one TSLL reader shared, the scent of Lily of the Valley to spritz on your skin before heading out the door? Or a candle infused with the scent of theLily of the Valley? I have gathered a few things to peruse below.
Wishing you a lovely first day of May. Bonne journée.