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Muguet - Photo : G. BrameEn mai, fais ce qu'il te plait.

May 1st: Lily-of-the-valley and May Day

On May 1st there are people selling lily-of-the-valley (“muguet”) on every street corner. French people like to give someone a sprig of lily-of-the-valley because it is said to be a good luck token. Furthermore, if you are fortunate enough to have 13 little white flowers in your sprig, that is supposed to be especially lucky.

French people love this pretty tradition. Besides, it’s the only day when you are allowed to sell lily-of-the-valley at your garden gate or in the street without being a florist.

In France and many other countries May 1st is also Workers’ Day. Workers’ unions organize processions to demonstrate in favour of better better working conditions. It is a bank holiday.

May 8th: Victory Celebration

Drapeaux des forces alliées - Photo : G. BrameThis date reminds us of the end of World War II in Europe. To be precise, Nazi Germany signed the surrender on May 7th 1945.

After landing in Normandy on June 6th 1944, the Allies made the return of freedom possible with the help of widespread Resistance networks.

From 1950 onwards, Germany and France had the courage to construct a durable peace by laying down the foundations for the European Union we know today.

Ascension Day

Ascension is a catholic festival which always falls on the sixth Thursday after Easter. It is a bank holiday.

If you also take Friday off, you can "make a long weekend". In fact it becomes a very long weekend, lasting 4 days! There are several bank holidays in May which sometimes fall on a day which allows the French to make a long weekend of it (or, as they say, faire le pont).

Mothers’ Day

Roses - Photo : G. BrameHappy Mothers’ Day, Mum ! In France this day is always celebrated on the last Sunday in May. Children give their mothers a small present or some flowers. The little ones often make a present in class at school. It’s hard to keep the secret.


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