International Women’s Day – March 8: Not Just Sugar, Spice, And Everything Nice
When is Women’s Day?
Internationally, Women’s Day is always celebrated on March 8th, That’s right, no complicated lunar cycle or shift based on the seasons, the same day year in and year out.
2014: Saturday, March 8th
2015: Sunday, March 8th
2016 Tuesday, March 8th
2017: Wednesday, March 8th
2018: Thursday, March 8th
International Women’s Day has a rich, complex history that has generated a variety of observance styles across cultures – each of which celebrates a different facet of the spectrum of femininity. Despite its official status as an international holiday, many people don’t even realize it exists. Fewer still understand the historical importance, deep layers of meaning, and cultural variations behind this holiday designed to celebrate Womanhood in its fullest glory.
Women’s Day was first celebrated in the early 1900’s, not because women everywhere cried out for a day of pampering; on the contrary, Women’s Day began in the United States as part of the labor movement, with goals of promoting equal rights (including voting rights) for women. The holiday took firm hold in Russia on March 8, 1917, when the Russian Revolution began because of women’s protests against bread shortages in St. Petersburg, and resulted in a political sea change. The movement, and the holiday, continued to spread through political and cultural trade routes via international conferences, until the United Nations recognized it as an official holiday in 1975.
As Women’s Day has grown, the ways it is celebrated have evolved as well. In Russia, the Ukraine, and CIS, Women’s Day celebrations often include declarations of love and proposals; and they’re incomplete without pampering all the important women in one’s life. However, the holiday’s political themes are still alive and well within the United Nations, including the UK, Australia, and Canada. Additionally, the popularity of Women’s Day is surging in the United States.
Women’s Day in and Around Russia
Across Russia, Ukraine, and the CIS regions, Women’s Day has become a vibrant celebration of femininity in all its forms that coincides with spring, the archetypal season of birth, renewal, and everlasting beginnings. On March 8, everyone takes the time to recognize that all women – mothers, sisters, daughters, spouses, and even co-workers – have the power to brighten the world at every level. It is customary to pamper and appreciate all the women in one’s life. It is also considered a very good time to begin romantic relationships and make marriage proposals.
A blend of Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Secretary’s Day (with a dash of spring renewal thrown in for good measure), Women’s Day in Russia is definitely not a day to forget to send a romantic gift, a bouquet of flowers
, or a tasteful token of appreciation. However, despite the popularity and sincerity with which this holiday is celebrated in this region, some groups have other ideas about how best to appreciate women around the world.
The U.N.’s Version: A Feminine Force for International Transformation
Members of the United Nations fear that the roots of this holiday have become lost in commercialization. According to their official website, ‘International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of the countries and communities.’
In an effort to raise awareness of women’s stories, and encourage continuing change, the UN holds a Commission on the Status of Women and assigns a special theme to each year. Each year’s theme is a call to action for ending violence against women, eradicating poverty for women, and increasing women’s access to justice. The official theme for Women’s Day 2014 is ‘Inspiring Change.’ For those celebrating with the United Nations, the best gifts on Women’s Day are the ones that result in equal access to education, technology, sustainable living, and gainful employment. Not surprisingly, both sets of views hold sway in the world’s melting pot – the United States.
Women’s Day in the United States: It’s not about the gifts…But they don’t hurt
Women’s Day as a widely celebrated event is steadily gaining more momentum in the United States. Celebrants who are aware of March 8th tend to simultaneously understand the holiday’s roots in social change, and welcome the concept of appreciating the women in one’s life with a token of their esteem.
As a result, Women’s Day in the US is becoming the time to pay attention to the lives of women in one’s personal life as well as the achievements of women in the global community.
Choosing a gift with meaning
, and writing card that truly thanks a woman (not just for her beauty and grace, but also for her achievements and endurance) is becoming a popular way to celebrate among couples and families. Others are celebrating within the wider community by sponsoring women-centered charities, hosting events to raise awareness for women’s issues, and even throwing parties to celebrate the achievements of great women.
Where is Women’s Day Celebrated?
Women’s Day is widely celebrated worldwide, particularly in Russia, Ukraine and surrounding regions, the UK, Australia, Canada, and the USA.