Welcome to the monthly Ecom videocast. It is now the month of May and in France during
the month of May, there are two major celebrations. First, we have la fête du travail,
which is Labour Day, on the 1st of May. It dates back to the 18th century,
so it’s very important to the French culture. And we also have the Lily of the Valley Celebration,
la fête du muguet, on the same day. This is more like a good luck charm type of thing. And after that, in the cultural corner,
I will tell you a little about the French strikes. French people go on strikes quite often.
We call it “les grèves”. So, I will explain to you how that works out. So, for the month of May for the seasonal corner,
we will talk about la fête du travail(Labour Day). La fête du travail started in France
in the 18th century. So, it’s a tradition that has existed for many years. At the beginning of the 19th century,
there was a big strike. The demonstrators in the street, in order to talk about
their demands, all wore a red triangle on their coats. This red triangle signifies the division
of the day into three: 8 hours for work, 8 hours for leisure
and 8 hours for sleep, because at the time people worked
a lot more than 8 hours a day. Little by little this red triangle was replaced
by le muguet, lily of the valley in English. The lily of the valley is a symbol of spring
and revival and it brings good fortune. In France it is customary in general
to go as a family to pick lilies of the valley. I remember being little and going in the forest with my parents,
looking for sprigs of lilies of the valley,
and then giving them away. We give a sprig of a lily of the valley
to people as a lucky charm the 1st of May. So, la fête du travail and la fête du muguet,
both fall on the first of May. So, in the cultural corner for the month of May,
we will talk about strikes. Of course, strikes are related to work and since the first
demonstration at the origin of la fête du travail, the 1st of May has been dedicated to
the procession of the unions in the big cities. There are often strikes on this day, obviously,
but as it is a holiday, it’s a little bit special. In France, most people strike. Whether it be students, teachers, doctors,
clerks or of course transportation workers, many, many sectors strike. The only ones that don’t strike are of course firemen
and police officers, for them strikes are prohibited. We need to have police officers
all the time, of course. The reason why people strike is to lobby. The strikers aren’t paid, and in general businesses
lose money, because nothing is being made. So, it’s for the best for everyone,
it’s in the best interest of everybody, to resolve the problems
as fast as possible. In general, people strike,
because they are fed up. They are sick of it.
There is something that is not right. Most of the time, it’s maybe
an augmentation of salary, or to demand rights, notably for retirement, or education,
or working conditions. So, if you go on vacation in France, it is very possible
that there will be a strike at that time. So think about this
when you plan your vacation. So there you have it.
That’s all for the videocast for the month of May. Today we talked about la fête du travail,
la fête du muguet, and also about strikes. These three aspects of French
culture are very important. And if you go to France the 1st of May, I hope that you’ll think to pick a little sprig
of lily of the valley to give to your friends. It’s a lucky charm and it always pleases.
It’s a nice little gesture. Otherwise, if you go to France on the 1st of May,
there may be strikes on that day. There may not be any transportation,
so think about this when you’re planning your vacation. All that’s left is for me to say good-bye.
I hope you enjoyed this. And if you go to France and you are fed up,
well, you can strike like the rest of the French. See you soon.