Seasonal ideas

Celebrate May 1st with Lily of the Valley

Steeped in tradition and history, the lily of the valley flower is a very special gift in France during the month of May.

Beautiful Lily of the Valley

As the month of May draws near, the woodlands of Europe begin to brighten up with the colours of the blossoming May flower, lily of the valley. To help you learn more about this beautiful flower, we've put together a guide on its history, traditions and uses.

History

Otherwise known as Convallaria Majalis, the lily of the valley flower is recognisable by its fragrant scent and small bell-shaped petals that drop and have a scalloped edge, which curl upwards. Although the flower is often white in colour, you can get the rosea variation, which have a beautiful pink and lilac tint. The flowers can be found throughout Europe, as well as some parts of Asia, and commonly bloom between April and May.

Enjoy the sweet scent of lily of the valley.
Enjoy the sweet scent of lily of the valley.

French tradition

Traditionally, sprigs of lily of the valley are handed out to family members on Fête du Muguet (or Labour Day). It's a tradition that has been celebrated for many years, since the 16th Century, and is seen as a symbol of good luck for the upcoming year.

Legends

The flower is often referred to as Mary's Tears, which refers to an old Christian legend where lily of the valley sprouted out of the same ground Virgin Mary's tears dropped on, as she wept during Jesus' crucifixion. An alternative legend explains that the lily of the valley flowers grew from the tears of Eve, after she was separated from Adam and cast out of the garden of Eden.

Once the petals have fallen, the berries will grow.
Once the petals have fallen, the berries will grow.

Uses

In terms of its symbolic power, the lily of the valley is said to represent happiness, and this may be why the flower is often used in bridal bouquets. Famous brides include film star Grace Kelly, and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, who were both photographed holding the flowers throughout their ceremonies.

Where you can find it

The flower is more commonly found in wooded areas, but it's often said that the lily of valley grows like that of a weed, and can be found almost anywhere, if the conditions are right. If you wish to grown your own, the soil must be sandy and slightly acidic, and the surrounding area should provide partial shade.

Watch out for the rosea variation of the flower.
Watch out for the rosea variation of the flower.

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