Lilies of the Valley
Today is May 1st, or “May Day”, in America. It is also known around the world as “International Workers’ Day”.
In France, May 1st is a national holiday. There is a special tradition where people give bouquets of a fragrant white flower called “Lily of the Valley” to family and friends. This tradition started in the year 1561, when King Charles IX of France was given some Lilies of the Valley as a good luck charm. It was a very lucky year, so the king began to give Lilies of the Valley to the ladies of his court every spring. The custom spread throughout France.
Now the flowers have become a symbol of Spring. You can find bouquets of these flowers being sold on street corners all over France – in big cities and in little villages – on May 1st. When my husband was a small child (about 6 or 7 years old), he picked Lilies of the Valley in the forest to sell in his little town, Rodelle, on May Day.
I think giving Lilies of the Valley on May Day is a nice tradition. Are there Lilies of the Valley in Japan?