But first a delightful French Traditional Custom to welcome Spring, traditionally le Jour de Muguet ( Lily of the valley day), in France.
In 1561, during the reign of Henry VIII in England, on 1st May, the young King Charles IX of France was given a sprig of lily of the valley (muguet) by one of his female courtiers . He thought this act was charming, and the following year, on 1st May, he gave such a sprig to every lady in his court. This annual act quickly spread from the Court to the cities and towns of France. It became traditional for men to give their true love a sprig of muguet, signifying love, constancy and marital fidelity.
Since then, in France, for May 1st, the poor country workers found that they could make a lot of money by gathering wild lily of the valley sprigs. They sold sprigs or small bunches to men in the towns and cities. The money made from the sale of "muguet" (lily of the valley, picture below) was not taxed by the French Government, so it was a "win-win" situation for everyone (except the national coffers).
Many years later, 1st May became known generally as "Labour Day", so this romantic, non taxable custom continues to be appropriate for the French to follow. This floral tradition, to welcome the Spring, follows well established ancient rituals from Pagan and Roman times.
SANTA: encouraging cultural understanding