by Nadège, Toulouse Office

Labor Day originated in events that occurred in the United States (Chicago) in 1886 when workers were striking for the 8-hour workday. For decades following this date, May 1 was regularly chosen as a protest day by international labor movements. In 1919, the 8-hour working day was officially introduced in France. In 1947, May 1 was declared a public holiday.

These days, May 1 is an important date for trade unions and other organizations: they organize parades and demonstrations to campaign for workers’ rights. The media response will be significant this year, given the present context of the 2012 presidential elections.

et la fête du muguet (lily-of-the-valley day)!

On May 1 in France, another custom is to give a sprig of lily of the valley (un brin de muguet) to relatives and friends. You might choose to pick the flowers yourself in the woods (get up early!). Since there are special regulations that allow people to sell them free of taxation on this day, you can also buy a bunch of lilies of the valley from one of the countless stands that pop up in every street corner!

Bonne fête du 1er mai 🙂

(Happy Labor Day)