Happy International Women’s Day!

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According to Wikipedia International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day, is March 8.  Started as a Socialist political event in the early 1900s (first in the US, then in Europe), the holiday blended into the culture of many countries, primarily in Europe, including Russia. In some regions, the day lost its political flavor, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women. In Russia, following the October revolution, the Bolshevik Alexandra Kollontai persuaded Vladimir Lenin to make it an official holiday. However it was a working day until 1965. Currently in some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday.

In Russia it is a very special day when men do their best for their women and shower them with presents and love. According to a RIA News survey in 2011, 94% of men in Russia were planning to give presents to their women. The most popular gift is flowers.  I read that flowers can help to measure the financial prosperity of a country.  The more flowers sold per person, the richer the region is. However, there is also a mentality issue.  I think this is the Russian case.  To give flowers to your woman on March 8 is a question of pride for many Russian guys. As a result it is the most busy and successful days in the flower market. Prices for flowers increase  2-3 times starting March 6 and sales for International women’s day covers the industry for the  slow summer sales.  90% of Flowers in Russia are imported, mostly from Holland, Equador, Columbia and Israel. According DISCOVERY Research Group survey (2010) the average flower market sales is about 1,3-1,5 billion.

Well, men gave to women not only flowers, but presents and surprises such as cook breakfast themselves or any other special perks. Once, I met an American couple in Moscow at one of 8 March parties, and she complained that no one in the US celebrate it and cherish women the same way as in Russia.  Her husband also was standing there and he told her with laugh: “Sweetie, in Russia the full year is for men, and let their women have this one day, and in the US you have a full year for women, we need a men’s day, so don’t complain”.  I see the point.

And, usually there is bad weather in Russia for the 8 of March, often cold and rain, and we like to say that this is because women cry a lot, and it is tough to be a woman.

That is why I took the picture of this card in the flower shop and I place it on my favorite spring flowers.  To be a real woman does require a lot of strength. Let’s celebrate it today and now, no matter where we are.

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