Friday, May 02, 2008

It's May! It's May! The lovely month of May

That's right, it's May, arguably my favorite month of the year. There is a bunch of stuff going on this month, personally and nationally. Such as:

Yesterday was la Fête du travail, or Labor Day. This is the only day of the year that anyone can sell lilies of the valley on the street without paying taxes on them, and while it has often been children or the poor who find the flowers in the forests to sell, loads of people are now in on the act, from charities like the Red Cross to folks with a bit of extra land looking to make a few extra bucks. Labor Day is also traditionally a huge day of manifestations in the larger cities in France, and yesterday saw plenty of folks from labor unions to retired groups taking to the streets. Lots of people faire le pont, or "make the bridge" and take today off, since the holiday took place on a Thursday, resulting in a four day weekend.

Next Thursday is Fête de la Victoire 1945, or WWII Victory Day. Another national holiday, there are usually parades and wreaths laid in front of the memorials found in every town, from the largest metropolitan city to the smallest village, remembering those who died during World War II. Next week, Stéph and a few other teachers that live in Tiny Town will represent the school at the ceremony, and of course I'll be tagging along. Also, the school will be closed next Friday so they can faire le pont as well!

In addition to May being my birthday month (woohoo!!), Stéph and I will be heading off to SPAIN!!! in just a few weeks, where I will be participating in my official capacity of translator (even though most of the people from the other countries speak French but nevermind). I haven't seen the schedule yet but it seems that at least one meeting will take place on the beach. Try not to weep too hard for me and my hardships, friends!

Finally, the whole country is commemorating the huge manifestations that took place forty years ago in France which are simply referred to now as Mai 68. Many Americans will remember that 1968 was a turbulent year, with political assassinations and students protests. This was also true in Europe and especially in France, where student protests often turned violent and at one point the government was on the verge of collapse. When I asked Stéph what finally changed because of Mai 68, he sarcastically said, "nothing." This is the question that many French people are asking themselves this month. In my opinion, since the student protesters of 1968 are the ones running the country today, it seems like they're extra proud of their protests and are patting themselves on the back this month. You can read more about the events of Mai 68 here.

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