International Women's Day is on March 8. The long-celebrated holiday has a storied history of fighting for women's rights, and the day can be recognized in many ways. One of the lasting traditions of this day that recognizes women and their achievements is the simple act of giving a woman flowers. While it is a meaningful show of appreciation, there is more learn about the sweet gesture. So, why do women get flowers on International Women's Day?
Before you can fully understand the meaning behind handing flowers to women on March 8, it's important to know the origin of International Women's Day. The first celebration of International Women's Day was on March 19, 1911 across Europe, according to The History Channel. The demonstration called for women's suffrage along with basic gender equity in the society and the workplace.
While flowers might have accompanied the annual celebrations in mostly socialist and communist countries on March 8, one the most widely-known recognitions of flowers symbolizing the day was in Italy following the end the World War II. On March 8, 1946, Italian feminists picked the mimosa flower as a symbol of strength, sensibility, and sensitivity, according to NPR. The versatility of the mimosa flower seemingly lends itself to the day's goal of both celebrating women's achievements while continually striving for gender equity.
Russia's modern celebration of International Women's Day is also heavy on the gift of flowers, and Russia's ties to the origins of the day run deep. In 1917, thousands of Russian textile workers were led by Alexandra Kollontai, a Russian feminist, to go on strike and protest World War I in what was called the "women's demonstration for bread and peace," according to the United Nations website. Per The History Channel, the women's actions were greeted with swift success when Czar Nicholas II abdicated the throne four days after the strike, and a provisional government granted Russian women the right to vote.
Over a century later, the March 8 holiday is celebrated to the fullest extent around the globe as women are showered with flowers when both women and men give flowers to show their appreciation of the women in their lives on International Women's Day, according to The New York Times. Flower shops in Russia tend to sell around 150,000 roses on International Women's Day, which is equivalent to a month's worth of sales, per the NYT.
Back in Italy, the mimosa flower is just the beginning of the International Women's Day celebration. Italian women have turned the day of women's recognition into quite the celebratory holiday. Italian women celebrate the Festa dell Donna on March 8, according to NPR, and women take the day to celebrate one another with mimosa flowers, leisurely dinners, and celebratory glass of wine.
Not only was the mimosa flower chosen for International Women's Day back in 1946 as a symbol of strength and sensitivity, but the mimosa flower is typically the first to bloom along the Italian landscape to indicate spring's arrival. The Italian participants of International Women's Day hand out this early blooming mimosa flower to the ever-deserving women in their lives.
Of course, International Women's Day is about more than simply showing appreciation with a beautiful gift of flowers, but there is nothing wrong with this gesture accompanying the fight for gender equity and parity. Giving the gift of flowers to your mom, sister, co-workers, and best girlfriends is a wonderful way to show you appreciate them on International Women's Day.
The official theme of International Women's Day 2018 is #PressforProgress, which is a push for global gender parity. In keeping with the theme of the day, you can buy your blooms from a woman-run business to show your support and join the fight for gender equity. Take a cue from the mimosa flower to realize that you can simultaneously show your strength to fight for women's rights while also gifting the women in your life a beautiful bouquet of flowers. There is no right way to celebrate International Women's Day, but adding a gift of flowers is sure to brighten whatever plans you already have set for March 8.