Why France celebrate Labour Day or May Day?

Why France celebrate Labour Day or May Day?

Strangely enough, it started in the USA. On 1 May 1886 American Labor Unions organized a strike in favor of limiting working hours to an eight-hour day. In 1889 the 2nd Socialist International decided to may May 1st a special day for demonstrations. But it was a right-wing government that consolidated the festival; in 1941 the Vichy government, Hitler‘s puppet, declared May 1st the feast of labor and national concord. It was to be a day on which workers could stay home and must still be paid. The Vichy government created Mother’s Day in France at the same time. These are among the few acts of that regime to remain in force after the war.

Americans, just to be awkward, now celebrate Labor Day in September; and the British, who like all their holidays to be Mondays, keep May day on the first Monday in May.

May 1 is also La Fête du Muguet, and the tradition is to give the ones you love a little bouquet of lily-of-the-valley, for good luck and to celebrate the arrival of spring. Originally the idea was to take the kids into the forest and lose them pick your own muguet together. Of course, in the city you will more likely buy it from the florist’s, or better yet, from one of the countless stands that sprout up overnight on every street corner and every road in France, most of them doing this as a fundraiser for one cause or another.

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