Monday, May 01, 2006

Happy Labour Day !

Today is May 1st and like in most countries in Europe, its "labour day" (la fête du travail). And to celebrate labour we don't work! Instead, we pay a visit to our relatives and bring Lillies of the Valley (muguet) for this flower is the symbol of the day. Incidentally, it's also the only day in the year where anybody can sell muguet in the street without paying taxes... Happy 1st of May everybody, as for me I'm going back to bed to celebrate my holiday!

Since I'm here working anyway, let me take the opportunity to welcome Beirut, Lebanon to the Daily Photo family!


  1. I can almost smell their wonderful perfume, and in my head I am singing "Il est revenu le temps du muguet". I'd be singing it aloud except that I can't carry a tune!

  2. As usual a quality picture from you Eric!

    I´ll have to see what kind of a labourday photograph that I can take from Stockholm. This day has lost it´s purpose but is oddly enough being revived by youths.

    Mostly from leftwing movement groups but also, sadly enough, from racistgroups.

    Anyway, have a nice first of may!

  3. Bonne fête du muguet, Eric!

    Too bad you can't spray a little of that sweet Lilly of the Valley scent on your blog :(

  4. How sweet! You can almost smell them...

  5. This is an inverted holliday, we should celebrate it working hard! Hmmm, i think i'm going to bed too;)

  6. Happy Labor Day! The lillies of the valley are beautiful and bring back many childhood memories.

    Michael, I received the nice note from you. Please write if you have my email address so that I may respond to you. Thanks.

  7. Hmmm...I should start a special tradition for our labor day. Maybe I could come up with a really great labor day chocolate cake--smells good AND tastes good! The trick is to get the general public to catch on.

  8. My hubby, son, and I get to go camping for our Labor Day at the end of August. It'll be such fun, but it'd be more fun if the rest of my in-laws weren't involved. What I'm really looking forward to is the 4 weekends up to and including Memorial Day, when the Greater St. Louis Renaissance Faire is held! I'm so excited, it's only a couple of weeks away! Who wants to go with us?

  9. Happy Labour Day to all who have tomorrow off!

  10. wow. je suis vraiment jalouse.....what a nice holiday to have! americans have a lot of days off during the year but this is really nice.

    i'm counting down the weeks until i visit paris again!

  11. Happy Labour Day Eric!

    I love our "May Day"...when I was a little girl, my friend and I would make little nosegays of flowers, go up to a door, hang them on the doorknob, ring the doorbell and run away!

    Probably the only time we could get away with running away from a rung doorbell, LOL!

    I hear buzzsaws all the way over here in CA...guess you're really celebrating!


  12. Bonjour!

    We are also celebrating Labor Day here in the Philippines!

    Bon 1er Mai a tous!!

  13. my friend who is teaching english in japan tells me they're having something called "golden week" there. it's like a week-long vacation. it seems like everyone is having a version of labor day right now! except for us in the u.s. :-(

  14. Happy Labour Day! I do find it charming that there is a flower associated with this holiday. The only thing we associate Labour Day (1st Monday of September) in Canada is the first day of school. School always starts the first day after Labour Day. For such reasons many children learn to revile that day. I think the distaste for the day still lingers on in the memory of most people here.

  15. Happy 1st of May Eric. Looks like you're still working hard to bring us all these cool shots and interesting stories.

    Nerissa... it's the same in the U.S. (1st Monday in September), but why is it that the rest of the world seems to celebrate the 1st of May and we North Americans celebrate it in September?

    Lareveuse...I'll get in touch.

  16. Good for you!! Shall we say "Bon Nuit" then Eric??? Les late mother's favorite flower. She had a special vase that she only allowed "Lilies of the Valley" to be placed in, when they weren't around or out of season it went into the cabinet. Merci Encore...kpg

  17. Passante...You are absolutely right!

    Everybody, I'm sure you know the song Passante is referring to once you hear it. Click here to listen to Il est revenu le temps du muguet, and you can follow along with the words below:

    Il est revenu, le temps du muguet
    Comme un vieil ami retrouvé
    Il est revenu flâner le long des quais
    Jusqu'au banc où je t'attendais
    Et j'ai vu refleurir
    L'éclat de ton sourire
    Aujourd'hui plus beau que jamais

    Le temps du muguet ne dure jamais
    Plus longtemps que le mois de mai
    Quand tous ses bouquets déjà seront fanés
    Pour nous deux rien n'aura changé
    Aussi belle qu'avant
    Notre chanson d'amour
    Chantera comme au premier jour

    Il s'en est allé, le temps du muguet
    Comme un vieil ami fatigué
    Pour toute une année, pour se faire oublier
    En partant il nous a laissé
    Un peu de son printemps
    Un peu de ses vingt ans
    Pour s'aimer, pour s'aimer longtemps

    The French words were written by Francis Lemarque, but the music is of Russian origin and was composed by Vassily Soloviev-Sedoï and Mikhaïl Matoussovski.

  18. When I first posted a comment on your blog a few weeks ago Eric you said I should do a Roquemaure Daily Blog. Well I have thought about that and wondered if a rural village of only 300 people spread out over a large area could be listed as a CITY Daily Blog?

    Well what the heck, there is lots of things happening in the French countryside that I am sure will be of interest to lovers of France.

    As your lovely image and post has reminded us all it’s May day and the day I have chosen to launch my new daily blog Réal Daily Photo Now I can go back to bed, or perhaps I will go out and enjoy the fresh country air.

    Thank you for the inspiration and Bonne Fête.

  19. Thank you Eric. The song IS familiar, but I'm not sure where I've heard it before. Thanks for the words to go along with it too.

    Wilf, Réal Daily Photo is an excellent idea as you'll see from my comments on your site. Everybody should check life out in Roquemaure, Tarn, France!

  20. May 1st is a holiday in HK as well, but we don't have lillies of the valley here. have a great day everyone!

  21. Happy May 1st, everyone.

    Michael - I found this on Wikipedia as to why Labor Day is celebrated in September, rather than on May 1, in the U.S.:

    "The origins of the American Labor Day can be traced back to the Knights of Labor in the United States and a parade organized by them on September 5, 1882 in New York City. They were inspired by an annual labor parade held in Toronto, Canada. In 1884 another parade was held, and the Knights passed resolutions to make this an annual event. Other labor organizations (and there were many), but notably the affiliates of the International Workingmen's Association, many of whom were socialists or anarchists, favoured a May 1 holiday. With the event of Chicago's Haymarket riots in early May of 1886, president Grover Cleveland believed that a May 1 holiday could become an opportunity to commemorate the riots. Thus, fearing that it might strengthen the socialist movement, he quickly moved in 1887 to support the position of the Knights of Labor and their date for Labor Day."

  22. Thanks for the information elisabeth! That's fascinating.

    Ame, what an adorable idea. Maybe if my family ever movesi nto a nicer neighborhood I'll encourage my kids to do that. where we're at currently I don't think people would appreciate it much.

  23. Merci Elisabeth,

    I had no idea where it came from (ok, an inkiling from my history class so long ago), but this refresher was good.

  24. Hi Michael! (Just noticed you're on right now too. Pity I have to run, I'm later for work then I usually am!)

  25. Bon premier mai à tout le monde!

    The trade unions always organise a march here on May Day - sometimes it is very large - 100,000 in Montréal two years ago - but Québec is about the only place it is really celebrated in North America, and even here, it isn't a stat/bank holiday. The first Parti québécois government was going to make it so but it hasn't happened, and the current government is very anti-labour.

    Actually, May Day is of North American origin too - it started in Chicago with the Haymarket riot, the culmination of a protest calling for the eight-hour-day. Some of the leaders were framed for a bomb exploding and hanged, believe they were later pardoned. Of course May Day has resonance as a date since it is an ancient festival of spring really getting in full bloom...

    But this year it IS being commemorated in the US, in the form of the day in support of immigrant workers, taking it back to its origins - in Chicago, the movement was largely a movement of immigrant workers of the day.

    I'm a freelancer - sometimes for the trade unions! - so I don't really have any days off; it depends on my work.

  26. Ah I wish we had a holiday on this joyous day - for us, may day is lei day so in 6 hours festivities will begin so I hope to get up in time since its 2:30 AM and I will need to go to schoool and work first. I hope to have some pretty pics of flowers like yours! Interesting note about the flower symbol and taxes.

  27. happy may first eric. pretty flowers.

  28. Ca ne serait pas dorothée qui chante ça ?!

  29. Muguet reminds me of my dad as when I was a kid we used to go out in the forest and take dozens of them. We would then arrange them with paper roses that my mum used to make and I would sell them. Now he passed away 2,5 years ago and for the first time this year I have not bought any. So it feels good to see the photo you made. Thanks Eric.

  30. je vous découvre tout juste grâce à Isablle et "l'oeil du courlis".
    Je suis amoureuse de Paris et j'y file dès que j'ai le temps en attendant de revenir y habiter cet été, de façon plus définitive...Peut être dans le 9ème ?
    En tous cas merci pour ces photos

  31. In South Africa, we also had labour day today, I was surprised to see in europe as well,? Hope you enjoyed your day too! we dont have any special traditions for this day..

  32. Patricia: we're sorry for you loss. For me too, muguet is a childhood thing. Haven't seen it close up in years, but I can still recall the sweet smell.


  33. lareveuse...I don't have your e-mail address and now I'll be away for a couple of weeks. Maybe you could send it to Eric's address to forward on? Eric, I hope that's okay...

  34. > Passante. I gree it smells really good.

    > Alex. So you have riots in Sweden too... How come one only hears about the ones in France and not in Stockholm like you had today?!

    > Terra Vecchia. Merci et bon 1er mai à Bastia (je t'ai répondu par mail à ton interrogation sur la traduction).

    > Tomate. Good idea I could do like John waters in Polyester LOL

    > Blondetown. Tell Tomate!

    > Seesaw. Thank you, you too.

    > Nuno. Working harder on a 1st of May?! I don't think so...

    > La rêveuse. Muguet IS a childhood thing, true!

    > Natalie. Excellent idea. Are you a business women?

    > Karine. Well, no matter the flower as long as you have the day off...

    > Soosha. Renaissance fair! So cool!

    > Single. Thank you. Off?! Well, I worked all day (well almost) on PDP 2.0

    > Nahal. Don't be jealous. You'll have yours in Spetember.

    > Ame. LOL. You haven't changed a bit since you rang doorbells have you?!

    > Arwen. hey! Bon 1er May to you and your French sweetheart of yours...

    > Paradise. A week long off?! Isn't that a little to much to celebrate Labour?

    > Nerissa. I can understand the children's reaction, LOL.

    > Michael. I am, I am... Why not the same day?! Well the same reason why you change winter/summer time differently from the rest of the world!

    > KPGallant. "Bonne nuit", yes, you can say that. A special vase for lilly of the valley? Sounds like a religious thing: thy shall not mix the Lilly of the valley with other flowers"...

    > Wilf. Well I told you already how happy I was that you joined us. Ladies and gentlemen if I were you I would bookmark realdailyphoto right away!

    > Michael. Yes it's a very famous Russian song.

    > Lisi. No Lilly for Lisi?! How sad. this one is dedicated to you then...

    > Elisabeth. Thank you very much. Very interesting. So I was wrong in my comment above implying that it was only to be different!

    > Lagatta. Interesting "retour des choses" isn'it? Thanks for the additionnal info, that's what makes this blog interesting.

    > ParisAthenes. So?! Did you make it on time?

    > Rafael. Thank you.

    > Carol. And thank YOU.

    > Arnaud. Tu n'as pas honte ?!

    > Patricia. "Funny" you mention that actually. I have had the same kind of thought about my mother today to whom I would always bring a "brin de muguet" on the 1st of May. I never missed one day!

    > Marion. Je ne connais pas cette Isabelle, mais je suis ravi qu'elle m'ait permis d'avoir votre visite. revenez quand vous voulez...

    > Marieta. Well, see, South Africa is not that far from Europe! I am not surprised you don't have Lilly of the alley though, probably far too hot down there ;)

    > Michael. It's very okay.

  35. Eric, you won't believe this...Debs wrote to me and said they made a perfume called "Muguet des Bois". I found a link to a Perfume Blog (what will they think of next?) that talks about it. The link is -->here<--

  36. Michael, I remember being given "Muguet des Bois" eau de toilette, bath cubes (I don't know if they still exist -- they were hard squares of scented compressed powdery stuff that dissolved in the bathwater, softening and perfuming it) and talcum powder one Christmas when I was a teenager.

  37. This photo brought a smile, a tear and a sigh.

    Muguet were my mother's favorite flower and my father would give her a bunch each spring. I think it was the first flowers he gave her during their courtship. They even celebrated their first date each year!

    I think we all appreciate your detailed captions that give us insight into not only the image, but the background on the history or location that is the subject. Many of us either want to visit Paris or return. I have copied many of your photos and the captions to a document to remind me of your explorations that I would like to experience as well. Thanks.


    I often click other links in the dailyphotoblog community that you list along side the blog!

    It is so interesting to see what each blogger posts each day. So different than what a person visiting would snap because they usually do not get to the areas of a city that a native, moving about on their daily routine does.

    It is like being taken around by a person that, if I were visiting, would start up a conversation in a cafe and they would generously offer to show me their city. Then at the end of the day we would find a entertainment venue and experience local music and food.

    Steve in foggy Chicago

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