The Labor Day in France 法国劳动节

May 5, 2021 Kong Yilin 

Today is May 1, the International Labor Day, and this year we still have a 5-day vacation. As one of the idea raisers, France played a significant role in the founding of this holiday, in the meantime, as a student of French, I would like to introduce the origin of this day and how people in France celebrate it.



Being called as “Fête du Travail”the day of work) in French, it is actually one of the most serious holidays in France. May 1 is only the national mandatory non-working paid public holiday there, on this day nearly all of the companies as well as the public systems stop running, including the bus, metro and most of the stores, of course, except these essential ones, for instance, the hospitals.

劳动节在法国被称为“Fête du Travail”(即工作节),是法国最为严肃的节日之一。五一节也是法国唯一一个全国性的强制有薪的公共节假日,在这一天,法国几乎所有公司和公共系统都会关闭,包括公交车,地铁和大多数商场,当然,必要性的场所例如医院除外。

In June 1889, the Congress of the Second Socialist International was gathered in Paris for the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. Then, they decided to make May Day into a day of the struggle across the world with the 8-hour work day as its goal. And this date was chosen to honor Chicago’s May 1, 1886 movement, in which the unions, simultaneously, the workers went on strike in order to be offered an 8-hour work day. Though the demand has been met, this tradition of protesting for the workers’ right remains.



On the contrary of the most people’s decision to gather with the family during the rest time in China, a large quantity of demonstrations take place all around France especially in Paris in this day. Plenty of people surge to the streets to parade, shouting out the slogans and carrying the placards which show their political appeals.



In the meantime, it is also the day of lilies in France. This custom began in 1561 by Catherine de Medici, when her son offered a sprig of lilies to the ladies at home, which is kept in France till now. Now, people make the lilies, which represent happiness and luckas a gift to the love and even wear them to participate in the demonstrations.

同时,51日也是法国的铃兰日。 这个习俗始于156151日, Catherine de Medic的儿子给家中的女性成员赠送铃兰花,并且一直保留到现在。今天,在这一天给爱人赠送象征快乐与幸运的铃兰花,甚至有许多人佩戴铃兰花参加游行。


So this is the Labor Day in France, and its various activities as well as its customs. In this country, this day means far more than a rest day. And what kinds of habits do you have on this day? I would be rather delighted if you share them with me.


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