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May Day in France


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PetaOctet

May Day in France: workers rights and lily of the valley flowers

May Day or La Fête du Travail is a public holiday in many countries including France. It is an occasion to celebrate workers rights, but also to offer some lily of the valley flowers to loved ones!

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Labor Day in France

Like in many countries around the world, May 1 is a public holiday in France. It is the only day of the year when employees are legally obliged to be given leave (except for some professions that cannot be interrupted, like in hospitals or public transport for example). Even if the eight-hour working day was officially introduced in France on April 23, 1919, trade unions still organize parades all over the country to defend workers’ rights every year. In France, May Day is also referred to as La Fête du Muguet (Lilly of the Valley Day), as people traditionally give bouquets to loved ones, especially in Paris… but why? Well, this tradition goes back to 1561. King Charles IX of France was given a lily of the valley flowers as a present on May 1. He liked it so much that he decided to present lily flowers to the ladies of his court each year on May 1. So lily of the valley flowers have no relationship with workers, but French sense of romance made it work!

 

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