English | Русский | Français | Español

2009-03-03  March 8th is the Women's Day in Russia
March 8th is International Women's Day in Russia and Ukraine. Except these two countries no one really celebrates it anywhere else in the world. In Russia and Ukraine, March 8th is an official federal holiday. On this day women enjoy being taken care of by their men and children, who help their wives and mothers about the house a lot, give flowers and presents. March 8th is kind of a combination of St. Valentine's and Mother's Day. It is a wonderful day of womanhood, love and flowers, that makes every woman feel special. The holiday originates from the ancient Roman times. Roman matrons (married women who were born free), who were the first to celebrate this kind of holiday, had a special day, when their husbands would treat them in a special way, giving them presents and a lot of love and care. Even female slaves got a day off. At that day women went to temples of Vesta (the Roman Goddess of the hearth and home), wearing festive gowns and flowers in their hair. The idea to celebrate the holiday at our time came from the protest march that took place in New York on March 8th, 1857. Female textile workers were protesting against low wages and poor working conditions. Half a century later at the Second International Conference of Socialist Women held in 1910 in Copenhagen, the German feminist Clara Zetkin advocated for an annual International Women's Day. For the first time International Women's day was celebrated in 1911 by four different countries - Austria, Germany, Denmark, and Switzerland, though on different dates. The celebration then was repeated in 1912. Russia joined it in 1913. Last time March 8th was celebrated internationally was in 1914 by five countries: Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, and Switzerland. Unfortunately, the beginning of World War made Europe completely forget about the holiday. After the United Nations declared 1975 as "International Women's Year", March 8th became an official Soviet holiday. Though the holiday is not celebrated by the majority of countries, it stays one of the most loved holidays in Russia and Ukraine. March 8th turned into one of the most beautiful holidays that welcomes springtime with lots of flowers and loving compliments. According to the survey conducted in February 2008, 91% of Russian women and 82% of Russian men consider Women's Day as an important private holiday. Most Russians (45%) celebrate Women's Day at home enjoying a festive meal. 18% are going to spend the holiday with friends. Only 3% of the Russians are planning to go out to a restaurant. Russian women prefer to receive the following gifts: * Flowers (40%) * Souvenirs (post cards, pens, writing pads, purses, etc.) (31%) * Chocolate (26%) * Fragrances and Cosmetics (22%) Only 11% of the Russians are not going to give presents on March 8th. Flowers are the best gift for a woman on International Women's Day. 50% of Russian women would be happy to receive flowers. 16% would prefer to get a perfume or another cosmetic item. Just 15% could be pleased by chocolates and sweets. And the least popular gift seems to be a book or a CD (3%). Here are some important facts about giving flowers to a Russian or Ukrainian woman: * Always give an odd number of flowers! In Russia and Ukraine an even number of flowers is given only on funerals. * Flowers must be fresh. * Tulips are considered to be symbols of spring. Along with mimosas and daffodils, tulips are the most popular flowers given on Women's Day. * Also the colour of flowers might be important. Some Russian and Ukrainian women are superstitious and associate yellow flowers with unfaithfulness and a break-up. It is better to choose red or white flowers.