Friday, 2 May 2014


Well firstly how is May already? And secondly it's quite funny reading today about how people are having a long weekend Bank Holiday - here in France our Fête de Travail is on the 1st, which meant basically everywhere would be closed and on the day - and long may that continue! But it's not just about the day off, oh no France also has a wonderful tradition of giving bunches of Lily of the Valley to friends and family as a good luck charm.

Here is a little about May Day – Fête du Muguet

Labour-Day-Lily-of-the-Valley copy
Lily of the Valley
May 1st (May Day) is known worldwide as Labour Day.
In France May Day is also the Fête du Muguet when the French greet each others with a sprig or a small bouquet of lily of the valley, a flower that is considered a lucky charm. The tradition dates back to the beginning of the century. Unemployed people went into the woods that were still found in the big cities’ suburbs to pick lilies of the valley. Unemployment benefits did not exist so people had to find ways of making ends meet! 

The lily of the valley is in full bloom in late April early May. It is one of those wild plants that spread very quickly, invading clearings and edges of wood! It grows everywhere and is almost considered as a weed. People just needed the patience of picking it and composing small bouquets which they tied with a ribbon. They sold them in the markets as women once loved to decorate their blouses with a sprig of lily of the valley. This custom was a remainder of the old pagan tradition when people celebrated spring by adorning themselves with flowers. Many provinces have retained a version of this ancient tradition by decorating a pole (May Pole) with flowers. This is reminiscent of the tradition of planting a flowering tree outside the door of the girls to marry off. It was followed by a feast during which they widely celebrated spring, nature and love!

In the language of flowers, the lily of the valley symbolizes ‘marital happiness’.
It was natural to link the flower to dating, and the popular dances “Bals du Muguet” were organized every year so that singles could meet their soul mate.
The girls dressed in white and young men wore a sprig of lily on their lapel; parents and chaperons were banned from attending!
The lily of the valley has been cultivated in Europe since the Middle Ages but it is said to originate from Japan where it is considered a symbol of spring.
Some sources, however, attest that the Celts knew the flower and already considered it a lucky charm.
The French tradition of giving a sprig of lily of the valley as a good luck charm on the first day of May originates from May 1, 1561 when King Charles IX received a sprig.

Sadly although it has seemingly been a bumper crop of flowers this year, I haven't found any potted in the shops this year, over the last couple of years I have bought them in the pots and planted them up - and enjoying their lovely scent from April to May! 

We did something completely different this year however, we had the lovely Bartonettes join us for a Musical workshop or as we like to call it *Star for a Day* making dreams come true, for Scarlett she has always wanted to sing into a proper mic - so she did!

Singing "Arpeggios" from Aristocats for the first time, and being recorded at the same time!

My youngest giving a little singing guidance so that Scarlett could make the best of her newly found voice! Sam enjoying his first time beating out a rhythm on the Cajon, and he did very well!

A little shyer than his twin sister, but Sam soon found his voice and sang his version of "Arpeggios"

Sophia is only five so not quite into sight reading just yet, so she chose one of her fave nursery rhymes - Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.....

On hearing her recording her first words were "That's not my voice!" It took us all a while to convince her that indeed yes - that is you singing!

it's all about the photos now!

We had a really fab time and I know the children didn't want to pack up and leave, I think we thought 3 hours was quite enough when it was planned but they had only just started rocking out to Abba - so we have sent them on their way home, to work on a few of their fave songs - so they can come back in Summer and do it all again!

For more photos of our *Star for a Day* please visit PamelaJaynePhotographyMakingMemories where you can see a few more captures of the Bartonettes having fun!

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