02 May, 2007

Fête du Muguet

Fast forward a few years from 1984, I remember another charming May Day tradition when we were living in Switzerland. We lived in the French-speaking Canton of Geneva where French customs and traditions were both observed and embraced. They have a most charming custom to usher in the month of May: the buying for oneself or friends a bouquet of lily of the valley (muguet de bois). Lily of the valley is referred to as a "porte-bonheur" something like what we would call a good-luck charm. On May Day vendors pop up on every corner selling little bunches of lily of the valley. Commuters are everywhere clutching their lily of the valley, the public transportation is perfumed on the first day of May. (I can still recall the sweet fragrance even now!) My mother and dad were visiting us from the States on May Day, 1997. My mother wanted me to have a bunch, from her, to commemorate the occasion. We hiked (and I do mean HIKED... it was a very steep hill!) to the top of our little village, where the shops were, so that she could buy me a small bouquet from a vendor set up in front of la Mairie. It was worth every strenuous step, they are among my favorite flowers to this day. Thanks, Mom!

Life is Good!
... and oh, so sweet...

10 comments:

Shelina said...

Bloglines is slow at updating again. Both your MayDay stories are sweet.

mamaspark said...

What a happy story. I remember when my oldest brought me a bouquet of Trillium (a protected flower in MI). She was sooo sweet and excited to give me the flowers, I just couldn't break her heart and tell her she should not have picked them!

YankeeQuilter said...

We had a large patch of lilly of the valley at my parent's house. My Mom has a small silver vase we used for them. They will always remind me of home.

teodo said...

Thanks for sharing this memory.....the muguet are so fine and so perfumed.
I'm sure that everybody here in Italy who have a garden have a little part of it with muguets..they are too beautiful! and now they are flourished..wow!
ciao ciao

Sheila said...

I adore the scent of these flowers...Dior's Diorissimo is one that comes to mind.
It's lovely too that they bring back happy memories of your time spent in Switzerland..!
xx

Ancestor Collector said...

Lily of the valley is the "birth flower" of May, and since May is my birthday month, I've always had a special fondness for it. A friend gave me a special vase that has lily of the valley on it just to hold my special flowers. I always try to find a bunch in May.

Nancy said...

We had these at the back of the house I grew up in, these and Chinese Lanterns. I thought both were just amazing blossoms. Still do.

Carole said...

Ah... que j'aime les muguets. We have access to quite a large patch in the woods. I also have some around my house. They are wonderful. My dd always brings me a bouguet from the woods! I cannot wait for them to blossom! Thanks for sharing! Happy quilting!

DubiQuilts - Debbi said...

I love lily of the valley flowers. Last year my neighbot gave me a few to plant in my garden and they are growing. Over the next few years I hope to plant more.

meggie said...

How sweet those Lillies of the Valley are. They were my Grandmother's favourite flowers, & I can still smell them.
Thanks for sharing the lovely pic.