May Day is also known as the Fête du Muguet.
Traditionally, you would give a small bunch of lily of the valley flowers to your loved ones. The flowers are a more general token of appreciation between close friends, family members and neighbours these days.
The custom began in 1560 when Louis Girard presented King Charles IX with a bunch of lily of the valley flowers as a token of luck and prosperity for the coming year.
It is said that he took a shine to the idea and began the custom of presenting lily of the valley flowers to the ladies of his court each year on the 1st May.
There was also an old European tradition of “Bals de Muguet” or lily of the valley dances once a year, this was a rare occasion for young singles to meet without having to get parents’ permission. The girls would dress in white and the boys would wear a sprig of “Muguet” as a buttonhole. From around 1900, it became traditional in France for men to present a bouquet of lily of the valley flowers to their sweethearts to express their love and affection.
If you’ve been invited to lunch somewhere, or you want to make a friend, neighbour or family member happy, give them a small bunch of lily of the valley flowers.