The 8th of March sees the country celebrate the Women’s Day Festival.
The tradition on March 8th is for both men and women to honour their mothers, wives, girlfriends and friends, with flowers and it is the declared month worldwide that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.
The initiative can be traced back to two key events in history on this day. In 1857, American garment workers were said to strike in New York – which led to the foundation of the first American women’s union. In 1917, the combination of the Russian Revolution and the First World War led to the Bread And Peace Strike in Russia. So when it came to 1945, this specific date was deemed appropriate for the celebration of womanhood by the Union of Italian Women – this year marks the 70th anniversary of that decision. The day allows women free or lower priced entry into chosen museums or sightseeing destinations. One of the most common traditions is the reception of mimosa flowers.
The very first celebration of a “Women’s Day” on March 8th in Italy happened in 1946 and was organized by UDI (Unione Donne Italiane, now Unione Donne in Italia, Italian Women Union) in 1946.On March 8th, 1946 Italy was just out of war, the foreign occupation was over, but the country was still not a republic. Women had obtained the right to vote but had not yet had an opportunity to exercise it (they will need to wait until June 6th, 1946 on the occasion of the referendum for Italian citizens to choose between the kingdom and a new republic). Many women, however, had been very important factors in the resistance movement during the war, fighting against fascism and the foreign occupation.
Three ex-combatants, two of them from Torino, Teresa Noce and Rita Montagnana together with Teresa Mattei, choose mimosa flowers as a symbol for the “Women’s International Day of Fight and Celebration” “Giornata internazionale di lotta e di festa della donna”.
If you want to celebrate Women’s Day the Italian way, give the women in your life a small bouquet of yellow mimosa flowers.