International Women’s Day – March 8: History and traditions of the holiday March 8 International Women’s Day: How the holiday emerged, how it is celebrated in different countries 27.02.2024, 17:53

History of the holiday Goals and relevance of the holiday How is March 8 celebrated in different countries?

date of holiday

One of the first women’s protests against economic, social and political inequality was the “March of the Empty Pots” in New York in March 1857. Workers working in textile and shoe factories raised their voices against the 16-hour working day and unfair wages. In 1908, women marched again and demanded voting rights and decent working conditions.

The first National Women’s Day took place in the United States on February 28, 1909, when the Socialist Party of America held mass rallies as part of its campaign for women’s suffrage. Historian Asya Polyakova told about this.

“February 28 – because the organizers wanted the holiday to fall on Sunday: more women would attend the rallies on the day off,” explained the expert.

In 1910, at the International Socialist Congress in Copenhagen, communist Clara Zetkin proposed celebrating the day of the struggle for women’s equal suffrage. A year later, Women’s Day was celebrated in Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and Austria.

“We must not forget Rosa Luxemburg. “The original idea put forward at the congress of the Socialist International was to declare this day as a day of struggle for social and political rights,” Polyakova continued.

Women’s Day in the Russian Empire begins on February 23, 1917 according to the old style (new style – March 8). On this day, women workers in Petrograd took to the streets to demand peace, bread and the return of their loved ones from the front.

“It was a very big demonstration. In fact, this is part of the marches of women who went to rallies every year after the start of the First World War, but such a strike in our country was one of the important events that led to the revolution,” he said.

The date of March 8 was officially established only in 1921, after which it became known as International Women’s Day. In 1965, by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the March 8 holiday was officially sanctified by law. In the Soviet Union, it had long lost its feminist focus and became the day of spring and a day honoring all women. Until the mid-1970s, this holiday was celebrated mainly in socialist countries.

In 1975, the holiday was recognized by the UN as International Women’s Day. This took place on the eve of the UN Decade for Women (1976-1985).

Goals and relevance of the holiday

Although the holiday declares goals to draw attention to gender inequality, in Russia it is perceived as a day to draw attention to women and is far from a fight for equality.

“Perhaps among young people the holiday is perceived more as a day of struggle for gender equality, but in general the trends towards increased awareness of gender equality issues are contradictory,” says Polyakova.

According to him, the legend says that Nadezhda Krupskaya brought the celebration of International Women’s Day to the USSR in the “flower” format. At the same time, the image of the “Soviet woman” emerged.

“The holiday actually became a holiday of Soviet women from the day of the struggle for gender equality, and it came to us in this form,” the historian said.

International Women’s Day is officially celebrated in more than 40 countries, but its political meaning is not remembered everywhere.

How is March 8 celebrated in different countries?

post-soviet space

In many post-Soviet countries, March 8 is an official day off. In Russia and many other countries, on this day it is customary to honor all female representatives, thank them and spend time with the family. An obligatory attribute of the holiday is flowers (today these are usually tulips, but in Soviet times, Women’s Day was more associated with mimosa).

Most Russians think that the best gift for their woman on March 8 is the one she wants for herself. This is proven by: questionnaireThe results were reviewed by 18% think that giving flowers to a lady is enough, and 11.8% plan to give perfume. 9% of survey participants consider living off sugar. 6 percent will be invested in clothes, accessories and a romantic dinner.


In China, the word “woman” is associated with a lady over 35 years of age – a separate holiday for young girls is celebrated on March 7. In the Celestial Empire, International Women’s Day quietly proceeds in the family circle, where mothers and grandmothers are congratulated.


There is no public holiday on March 8 in Japan, but the entire month of March is considered women’s month. The main women’s holiday in Japan is March 3 – Peach Blossom Day or Doll Festival.


In Italy, International Women’s Day is marked on the calendar but is not an official public holiday. Many people don’t celebrate, but local feminist groups go to rallies. The symbol of March 8 in Italy is the mimosa, which is given to women as a sign of respect.


In France, this holiday has retained almost its original meaning: on March 8, feminists declare cases of violation of their rights and fight for gender equality.


In Clara Zetkin’s homeland, March 8 is also not celebrated – in Germany it is believed that this holiday only reminds of the socialist past. If earlier in East Germany Germans congratulated women, after the reunification of the country the holiday was almost forgotten.


In Cuba, March 8 is celebrated on a large scale – on this day, many events are held in the country where women are honored. In 1959, Fidel Castro praised Cuban women who fought selflessly during the revolution, and since then Cuban women have felt freer and more independent.

What are you thinking?

March 8, International Women’s Day, is a holiday that emerged from mass protests against women’s rights and has undergone many changes over time. While in some countries it has become an occasion to thank women for their love and care, in others it continues to remind them of the struggle for gender equality. Asya Polyakova, historian and author of the first Russian-language blog about gender history asya.knows, told about the essence of the holiday.

Source: Gazeta


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