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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in France series at FrenchPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind French holidays and observances. I’m Matt, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 5-Labor Day. In French, it’s called Fête du Travail.
Like other countries, France celebrates Labor Day. May 1 is the only mandatory non-working paid public holiday in France. Neither the bus nor the metro run, and all stores are closed. Only a few essential centers, such as hospitals, stay open. This public holiday is Labor Day. In this lesson, we’ll learn why and how French people celebrate Labor Day.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
How did young men confess their love on May 1 in the past?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
In June 1889, the Second Socialist International Congress, or Internationale Ouvrière, gathered in Paris for the hundredth anniversary of the French Revolution. It elected to make May 1 into a day acknowledging the struggle of workers around the world, with its goal being the establishment of an eight-hour work day. In French, the eight-hour work day is called la journée de huit heures. This date was chosen to honor Chicago’s May 1, 1886 movement, in which first unions, then workers, went on strike in order to be granted an eight-hour work day. It was in 1947 that May 1 became a paid public holiday in France.
Following a proposition made by Raymond Lavigne, Congress decided to make May 1 a day of demonstrations with the goal being the reduction of the work day to eight hours. This demand was met, but the tradition of protesting for the rights of workers stayed. Each year since then, large demonstrations, or manifestations, take place all across France on May 1. The most important ones take place in Paris. French people demonstrate by marching in the street. They shout out slogans and carry placards which show their political ideas.
May 1 is also the day of lilies, or muguet. This custom started in 1561 by Catherine de Medici, when her son, the young king Charles IX, who was ten years old at the time, offered a sprig of lilies to the ladies in the room. This custom has stayed with the French people, and French people still buy lilies to give as gifts to loved ones on May 1. In fact, it’s not rare to see participants in the demonstrations wearing lily sprigs attached to their buttonholes.
A French movie called Premier Mai came out in 1958. A famous French actor, Yves Montand, plays the main character. The film tells the story of the extraordinary day that a father and his son go through on this public holiday. Be sure to check out this movie if you want to know more about this holiday.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know how young men confessed their love on May 1 in the past? Before the existence of the lily tradition, there was a tradition called Arbre de mai, which means “Maypole.” Young single men had to go to the forest on April 30 in order to cut down a tree and take it to the door of the young girl they wished to marry.
How was this lesson? Did you learn some interesting things?
In your country, how do people celebrate Labor Day?
Please leave a comment telling us at FrenchPod101.com, and we’ll see you next time!

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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In your country, how do people celebrate Labor’s day?

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 01:11 AM
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Bonjour Christa,


Thank you for leaving the comment.


If you have any questions, please let us know. ;)


Cristiane

Team FrenchPod101.com

Christa
Wednesday at 06:14 AM
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I celebrate labor day in the US, buy grilling or barbequeing, and possibly going camping or just watching football at home.

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Saturday at 10:13 PM
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Hello Ketuar !


Thank you for your comment !

Where did you read this mistake ?

I just checked the PDF and Muguet is translated as "lilies-of-the-valley".


Have a nice week end ! :sunglasses:

Marie Alice

Team FrenchPod101.com

Ketutar
Saturday at 09:14 PM
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Muguets ne sont pas lis - they are lilies-of-the-valley. The addition is very important. It's like talking about pommes and pommes de terre. Different things. Please, correct that!

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Friday at 10:49 PM
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Je vous en prie Sosthnes ! :smile:


Merci pour votre commentaire !


A bientôt

Marie Alice

Team FrenchPod101.com

sosthenes
Friday at 03:32 AM
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Thank you for the lesson. Merci

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 02:20 PM
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Hello JanedeVr@aol.com!


Thank you for your feedback!

Do you have any reasons why you would find that better? :innocent:


Have a great day!

Engla

Team FrenchPod101.com

JanedeVr@aol.com
Tuesday at 12:55 PM
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I would rather have a French person speaking the English. Sorry. (Not a criticism.)