May Day

Years ago a French friend told me about the French tradition of giving Lily of the Valley on May 1 or May Day. I found it so charming I have adopted it myself. One of the people I gave lily of the valley to today asked about the origins of the tradition. I didn’t know, so I looked it up and posted below Wikipedia’s explanation. There are many European traditions  for May Day listed on Wikipedia but I copied below the origins of the French tradition.

At brunch today when I gave my friend  the lily of the valley, two waitresses were over in a minute cooing over the flowers, saying it reminded them of home, so I split my last bunch and left two smaller bunches for them on the table. Now one more person to give too, but he will have to wait until Tuesday…bendng tradtion a bit but I imagine it will always be nice to receive a bunch of these fragrant gems.

On May 1st, 1561, King Charles IX of France received a lily of the valley as a lucky charm. He decided to offer a lily of the valley each year to the ladies of the court. At the beginning of the 20th century, it became custom on the 1st of May, to give a sprig of lily of the valley, a symbol of springtime. The government permits individuals and workers’ organisations to sell them free of taxation. It is also traditional for the lady receiving the spray of lily of valley to give a kiss in return. Now, people may present loved ones with bunches of lily of valley.

They always make a wonderful bouquet for Mothers Day! In white or lesser known lavender.


About cornucopiaofbeautifulthings

Dorothy Pfeiffer is owner and Creative Director of Cornucopia since 1995. When she first bought Cornucopia in 1995 it was a retail flower shop on the Upper East Side. Since, Dorothy has moved Cornucopia to a studio space in the heart of the flower market and has expanded the business to include all aspects of event design and recently has developed an added Interior Design for Coporate and Home to the services offered at Cornucopia
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One Response to May Day

  1. diane says:

    well yet another good reason to see you today or any day!

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