Bonne fête du Premier mai !

B1 French listening practice with side-by-side translation

  Listening comprehension: See the links at the bottom for lessons related to the phrases in italics.

Pourquoi en offre-t-on à nos proches le Premier mai ?Why do we give them to loved ones on May 1st?
Le premier mai, c’est la Fête du Travail, mais c’est aussi le jour l’on offre du muguet. Mais pourquoi offrir du muguet le 1er mai, et pourquoi le muguet est-il aujourd’hui associé à la Fête du Travail ? Explication.
Translation
May 1st is International Workers’ Day, but it’s also the day we give lilies of the valley. But why give lilies of the valley on May 1st, and why is the lily of the valley linked to International Workers’ Day today? Explanation.
Florissant au printemps, le muguet est la fleur idéale pour célébrer le retour des beaux jours. Dès l’Antiquité, les Celtes lui attribuent des vertus de porte-bonheur.
Translation
Blooming in spring, the lily of the valley is the ideal flower for celebrating the return of nice days. Since ancient times, the Celts have claimed it brings good luck.
Mais c’est lors de la Renaissance que la tradition d’offrir du muguet le premier mai voit le jour. Le 1er mai 1561, le roi Charles IX reçoit un brin de muguet porte-bonheur. Le cadeau lui plaît tellement, qu’il décide d’offrir tous les ans un brin de muguet à chacune des dames de sa cour.
Translation
But it was during the Renaissance that the tradition of giving lilies of the valley on May 1st began. On May 1st 1561, King Charles IX received a sprig of lily of the valley for good luck. The gift so pleased him that he decided to give a sprig of lily of the valley to each of the women in his court every year.
La tradition perdure jusqu’à la Belle Époque, notamment en Île de France où les boutiques offrent des brins de muguet à leurs clientes pour le 1er mai.
Translation
The tradition lasted until the Belle Époque, particularly in Île de France where stores gave their female clients sprigs of lily of the valley for May 1st.

Entre 1886 et 1889, de nombreuses manifestations syndicalistes secouent la France. En 1889, les syndicats proposent que le 1er mai soit une journée chômée consacrée à la manifestation. Les participants prennent l’habitude de défiler avec un triangle rouge à la boutonnière, qui symbolise la division de la journée en trois parties égales : le travail, le loisir et le sommeil. Le triangle rouge est ensuite remplacé par l’églantine rouge qui devient le symbole de revendication des travailleurs.

Translation
Between 1886 and 1889, numerous union demonstrations shook France. In 1889, the unions proposed that May 1st be a public holiday dedicated to demonstrating. The participants got in the habit of marching with a red triangle on their lapels, which symbolized the division of the day into three equal parts: work, leisure, and sleep. The red triangle was later replaced by a red dog rose which became the symbol of workers’ demands.
À partir de 1907, le muguet, déjà traditionnellement associé au 1er mai, remplace progressivement l’églantine. Et c’est en 1941 que le gouvernement de Vichy décide d’instituer officiellement la Fête du Travail le 1er mai. Mais comme le rouge est traditionnellement associé à la gauche, eh bien il décide définitivement de mêler le muguet à la Fête du Travail.
Translation
Starting in 1907, the lily of the valley, already traditionally associated with May 1st, gradually replaced the dog rose. And it was in 1941 that the Vichy government decided to officially establish May 1st as International Workers’ Day. But since red is traditionally associated with the left, it decided to mix lily of the valley with International Workers’ Day definitively.
Video courtesy of Pratiks.Translation by LKL

 Muguet pour le premier mai Listening comprehension

Expressions

Vocabulary

Grammar

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