Tory Entertains: Lily of the Valley for French Labor Day

Photographed by Noa Griffel

Happy May Day! In France, today marks Labor Day as well as La Fête du Muguet, celebrating the arrival of spring. Men wear a sprig of lily of the valley — also known as muguet, May bells or May lily — in their lapel, and women are given fresh bouquets of the flower.

The tradition dates back to the first of May, 1561, when the country’s 10-year-old King Charles was presented with a bunch of the white blossoms — a gesture symbolizing luck, happiness and prosperity. As the story goes, he was so touched, he continued the tradition on the same day every year thereafter by offering lily of the valley to the ladies of his court — and the custom continues today.