May is traditionally a month connected with flowers – in France it is no different. The first of May is devoted to the sweet smelling Lily of the Valley blossom. It brings good luck and traditionally family members , close friends and lovers present each other with a ‘ brin de nuguet’ or single stem of the flower. It is a National Holiday and is special to me as it is the anniversary of my parents’ first meeting.
Just think, my elder sister could have been called Lily!!
So why the Lily of the Valley? On May 1, 1561, King Charles IX of France received a lily of the valley as a lucky charm. He decided to offer a lily of the valley each year to the ladies of the court. At the beginning of the 20th century, it became custom to give a sprig of lily of the valley, a symbol of springtime, on May 1.
A little known fact is that the government now permits individuals and workers’ organisations to sell them tax-free. A lot easier than moving to Monte Carlo!!!