French figures: The lucky May flower

French figures: The lucky May flower
Photo: AFP
In France these pretty little spring flowers have a political significance too.

Spring across Europe sees the blooming of the pretty white flowers of lily-of-the-Valley, known in French as muget.

But ahead of certain date you will see these blooms on sale everywhere in France.

The muget is sometimes also known as a muget de mai, and it's traditional on May 1st to give these flowers to friends and family to bring them luck.

Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron with their lucky May lily-of-the-valley plants. Photo: AFP

May 1st is a holiday in France, it's the workers' holiday and usually features large-scale demonstrations in the cities and you will frequently see marching trade unionists sporting an attractive lily-of-the-Valley sprig pinned to their jackets.

The flower's tradition goes right back to 1561. Apparently on May 1st that year France's King Charles IX was given a muguet flower as a lucky charm and liked it so much that he decided to offer them each year to the ladies of the court.

It's a sign of how important they are in French culture that ahead of May 1st 2020, when the country was still on lockdown as the Covid pandemic raged, the French agriculture minister took the time to reassure citizens that mugets would still be available at supermarkets.


This article is part of The Local France's 2020 virtual advent calendar – every day until Christmas we will be presenting you with a person or object that has a particular significance to life in France. 

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