Traditions

Give lily of the valley for May Day!

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On May 1st many countries celebrate Labor Day, also called International Workers' Day to support the rights of workers. But In France another tradition is also celebrated on that day: giving friends and family a sprig of lily of the valley.

The tradition goes back to King Charles IX in 1561. Someone gave him bunches of lily of the valley as a symbol of good fortune and to wish him luck for the next year. King Charles loved the idea so much that he started giving flowers on May 1st to the ladies in waiting on his court.

Who could you give a lily-of-the-valley bouquet on May 1st?

Other May Day traditions around the world:

In Hawaii the day is called Lei Day. Leis are made out of flowers, leaves, shells, nuts or other materials. They are a way to greet people or to celebrate a special occasion. On May 1st people give each other leis to celebrate Hawaiian culture.

Grecians decorate their doors with beautiful floral wreaths on May Day to celebrate the coming of summer.

Some English and some German people celebrate the day by dancing around a maypole, a painted pole decorated with flowers and ribbon.

The Finnish do things a little differently and celebrate May Day on April 30 with picnics in the park while eating sweet, yummy funnel cakes that leave their hands sticky and their bellies full.