Today, I offer you a whole year of happiness with that small bouquet.
It's a nice tradition and I don't want to fail to agree.These small, delicate and scented bells have a name which means in the language of flowers " return of happiness ".
This tradition goes back to the Renaissance and King Charles IX who, in 1521, offered this flower to every people around him, to celebrate the happiness of the return of Spring, as did Botticelli with this beautiful painting;
This flower is also associated to Labour Day. It replaced the red rosehip that symbolized the Feast of Workers established by the end of 19th century, in 1889. Petain transformed the Feast of Workers into Feast of Work, and replaced the leftist red flower by lily of the valley. Funny trick of History, this Feast of Work and lily of the valley are Petain's heritage.
But, why am I accusing of perfidy such a pretty flower ? It's because, under its appearance of grâce and fragility, those bells are true poisoners. There's a medical use of lily of the valley, in proper dose, it's used as a medication for heart, under the scientific name of " convallaria maialis ". But, it contains toxic alkaloïds which are revealed when the flower dies. Even the water from the vase containing the flower is contaminated. The whole flower is dangerous, so, take care to place it out of the reach of children. In a room without any,or enough, ventilation, it may give violent headaches.
But, on this first day of May, while the sun is back over the Gironde area, after an unexpected episode making us believe in the return of winter, let just remember the beauty and symbol of these small bells that offer us a year of happiness. As we can see, there are always two sides in every thing.
Have a nice day !