1st MAY

Muguet

Why do we offer thrush on Labor Day? A flowery gesture repeated every year, whose history goes back to a very, very distant past. The Muguet plant of Japan has been present in Europe since at least the Middle Ages. The bell-shaped plant has always symbolized spring and the Celts granted it a status of lucky charm. On May 1, 1561, King Charles IX formalized things. In France, as early as 1793, the republican calendar of Fabre d’Eglantine proposed a Labor Day (“day of work”) on the 3rd day of the sansculottide (the “tridi”), while it associated thrush with the “republican day” , On 26 April and not on 1 May, thus breaking with this royal tradition. It was not until the beginning of the twentieth century that it was associated with Labor Day, which itself dates from 1889. Every year, 60 million strands of thrush are produced, sold individually or in pots. 85% of the national production of thrush is harvested in the region of Nantes (about thirty market gardeners spread over half a dozen communes and contracting about 7 000 employees in a seasonal contract.) The market weighs more than 90 million euros. In France, there is a tradition according to which a bit of thrush with 13 bells would bring happiness.

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