In today`s Russia International Women`s Day has nothing to do with the feminist movement for protection of women`s political rights. On this day women enjoy being taken care of by their men and children. 8 March is kind of a combination of St. Valentine`s and Mother`s Day. It is a wonderful day of womanhood, love, flowers and indulgence. Being a National Holiday in Russia International Women`s Day is free from work.
Women`s Day was celebrated already in ancient Rome. Matrons (free married women) got presents or other nice treats from their husbands. Even female slaves received gifts and were granted a couple of work-free hours. Wearing festive gowns and flowers in their hair, women went to temples of Vesta, the Roman Goddess of the hearth and home.
A couple of centuries later women started to fight for their rights. On 8 March 1857 female garment workers marched through New York City protesting against low wages and poor working conditions. At the Second International Conference of Socialist Women held in 1910 in Copenhagen, the German feminist Clara Zetkin suggested to dedicate 8 March to women`s fight for equal rights.
Russia started celebrating International Women`s Day in 1913. As after the October Revolution in 1917 Bolshevists guaranteed equal rights for everyone, women didn`t have to fight for their rights any more. So 8 March turned into one of the most beautiful holidays that welcomes springtime with lots of flowers and loving compliments.
The most popular present are flowers, especially mimosas, daffodils and tulips. 8 March is celebrated everywhere: in offices, schools, families and, of course, in private. Students and businessmen prepare nice surprises for their classmates and colleagues. Children paint something or do handicrafts as gifts for their mothers and grannies. Men come home with flowers for their wives and candies for their daughters.