May 1, 2010

1 May & Muguet

The first day of May in France and Belgium is La Fête du Travail (Labor Day). Just like in the US, people take this day off. This year it falls on a Saturday which means that locations you would normally frequent will be closed...shops, hair salons, tattoo parlors. The usual weekend round up. Restaurants and bars however will be open and since the weather is good, will be teeming with people. But more noticeable here in Brussels on May 1 are the stands and shops and street corner vendors selling small bouquets of flowers, lillies of the valley, called Muguet. Roughly pronounced "moo gay". I said roughly. That's because today is also May Day.

The tradition for May Day or La Fête du Muguet, is to give friends and loved ones a little bouquet of Muguet, considered a porte-bonheur ( a bringer of happiness and luck), and to celebrate the arrival of spring. If you drive in Brussels at all, you'll notice on every street corner is someone selling these little bouquets, nicely wrapped in paper and ribbon. This is a welcome change from those who are normally there asking for money and offering nothing in return, non? Those out peddling their petals today have obviously received the luck of the Muguet. It's a gorgeous sunny Spring day in Brussels and the prolonged warm weather has everyone in a Muguet kind of mood. Except my husband who really just wanted to get home and take a nap. Ah romance.

I remember a few years ago looking at the young girls selling Muguets, all bundled up in their coats and hats. It just doesn't feel like Spring when you are still wearing mittens. Anyway, to all those I love, and like a lot, and even to those I don't, I wish you luck and happiness and all the pleasures that Spring and new beginnings have to offer.


French In DC said...

I absolutely love your blog! I teach French privately and in a Montessori preschool and an elementary school. I first discovered you this year just before La Chandleur; I was doing a google search to find an explanation of the holiday for my students. Yours came up. It was wonderful; funny, useful and beautifully written. I am thrilled to have found this post on May 1st. Merci beaucoup!

Kimberley Lovato said...

French In DC...Thank you for your kind words. I am so glad you and your students found it useful. It was a passionate French teacher like you that inspired me many many moons ago to learn and love French language and culture. I am sure you will inspire the same from your group of budding young francophiles.
A bientot!