Why do we offer thrush on the 1st May and can we still perpetuate this tradition in Switzerland?
You have not been able to miss the tradition of the strand of thrush on the first of May because every year at the beginning of this month stand thousands of stands offering you this white flower with bells which exhale a superb perfume and which is supposed to bring happiness to the one who receives this strand of thrush. There are millions of them in one day. Where does this custom come from and why offer this strand on May 1st of each year? It should be noted that May 1st is a symbolic and important date since antiquity. It is the date when the navigators resumed the sea. In ancient Rome, the celebrations of the goddess Flora reached their summit on May 1st. For other cultures such as the Celts, May 1st is the first day of summer. It is, therefore, an important day that marks the coming of the beautiful days in the winter.
Though the thrush, a flower from Japan, has been present in Europe since the Middle Ages, offering this flower on the first of May comes from a Renaissance tradition. Indeed, it was in 1560 that King Charles IX received from a knight, thrush gathered in his garden as a lucky charm. The king decided the following year to do the same on the 1st of May, and offered the ladies of the court this white and fragrant flower, adding, "Let it be done thus every year."
To reinforce this custom, it was on the 1st May 1900 that, at a party organized by Parisian fashion designers, they offered all the women present a bit of a thrush. The little hands receiving and seduced by this gesture decided, in turn, to offer a thrush each year to their customers. It is, therefore, a custom that has its origins in antiquity and which delivers a very beautiful message. "Accept this sprig of thrush that announces the arrival of the beautiful days and that will bring you happiness for the rest of the year". And we all need happiness. So no hesitation, we can also, every beginning of May, offer this strand to the people we love and wish them all the happiness of the world.
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