In some countries March 1st is considered to be the very first day of Spring, when we say good-bye to cold and grey winter and welcome warmer weather, flowers and sunshine. This time of the year brings us so much joy, it inspires us, motivates us.. Yes, Vitamin D works miracles 🙂 And I believe this is why International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th. In Ukraine, where I am from, we associate this day with beauty, new beginnings, flowers and, of course, women. It is a national holiday and this means no one works on March 8th! Yay! Basically no one works starting the day before. Everyone – and when I say EVERYONE, I mean it – is celebrating beautiful women in their offices, schools, supermarkets, stores, banks etc. Women are showered with flowers, gifts, chocolate from men and women around them. It is a common practice for women to give flowers and small gifts to each other. On March 7th, there is usually a big celebration with cakes and champagne, and words of gratitude and appreciation.
In my family, on the day of actual holiday, my mom and I would always wake up to gorgeous bouquets of flowers. We would both get flowers and small gifts from our men (my dad and my brother) and enjoy a breakfast together as a family. Usually buttermilk pancakes and honey, and tea of course. Later that day our big family would gather together at our grandma’s house: we would exchange gifts, have a nice dinner as a family and enjoy each other’s company. Even though we all would receive gifts this day was never about receiving – it was always about giving. Giving love and warm hugs to all special people around us.
Over the past decades the way we, Ukrainians, perceive this holiday has changed. During Soviet Union times International Women’s Day was observed by Socialist countries mostly, and on that day women would unite to stand up for equality and their rights. As the time passed, Ukraine proclaimed its independence and became a democratic state, this day was no longer associated with aggressive feminism movement and slogans. We do talk about women’s rights and equality but mostly it is the day to admire beautiful, talented, bright and extraordinary women around us.