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International Women’s day in Russia

Holiday which celebrates Womanhood and Spring

This day celebrates all womanhood, and announces spring; however, the weather can still be chilly like in winter, but the warm sun, smell of melting snow and birds’ singing is a reminder of the beauty of spring.

One hundred years ago

International Women’s day played a great role in the Russian Revolution of 1917. As Revolutionary Leon Trotsky said, it “inaugurated the revolution.” As described in Wikipedia, “In 1917 demonstrations marking International Women's Day in Saint Petersburg (a capital at that time) on the last Thursday in February (which fell on March 8 on the Gregorian calendar) initiated the February Revolution. Women in Saint Petersburg went on strike that day for 'Bread and Peace' – demanding the end of World War I, an end to Russian food shortages, and the end of czarism.“ Four days after that demonstration the Russian Emperor resigned, and Russia ceased to be a monarchy.

After the October Revolution, in 1918, the 8th of March became a public holiday.

How do people celebrate now?

Men offer gratitude to all women, no matter old or young, married or unmarried, mothers or not. It is an opportunity to honor motherhood, beauty, and the wisdom of women.  As Russian proverb says, "the man is the head of the family, the woman is the neck." This proverb reflects the role of a woman in the family in Russia, her inwardness and ability to empower her husband.

Men give presents and flowers to significant women. School children present gifts and buckets of flowers to their teachers, and do crafts at schools and in nurseries to present to mums and grandmothers. Even little girls receive gifts from their relatives. At work places men organize celebrations on the last day before the holiday, with gifts, flowers and festive tables. Employers may also present something to the female employees.

Several days before the holiday the 'shopping fever' begins.  One can come across a flower shortage and suitable presents fly away from the shop shelves. So, wise men buy them in advance, also not to overpay for the last-minute gifts. Men are always puzzled what to buy. Traditional presents are perfume and cosmetics, along with flowers (tulips, mimosas and roses). The yellow branches of mimosa are the symbol of the holiday. Mimosa and other flowers are traditional printed on postcards; they signify spring, which is a great deal in Russia, with its long harsh winters.

This is a true family holiday, people stay home, arrange festive celebrations, or may visit friends and relatives. Men and children can take over in the kitchen to prepare a festive meal. One can see happy women’s faces everywhere. The 8th of March is a special day for all women, a day full of congratulations, compliments and gifts.

We would like to take this opportunity to say congratulations to all women who celebrate this day!

If you think about travelling to Russia, why not get in touch with our travel experts about arranging a trip.

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