Every year, March 8 lots of women all over the world are celebrating the International Women’s Day. March 8 is a day off in many countries, including Ukraine.
The International Women’s Day still has a political context in some countries, but in Ukraine this holiday lost its political flavor many years ago. Now it is holiday of men’s expression of their love and respect to the women of all ages. Ukrainian media also like to call an International Women’s Day as a Holiday of Spring, because it is a time for snowdrops
the first spring flowers in Ukraine.
Actually, in my memories the snowdrops do symbolize the International Women’s Day, because since time I was a kid I used to get these first spring flowers from my classmates-boys to March 8. In the village where I grew up the snowdrops were for free, you just go to the closest bush to get them. Then, when we, Ukrainian girls, were in older grades, our boys-classmates could afford even mimosas
and tulips for us. Finally, when I got my first job in city’s newspaper, I started to get roses and carnations from my co-workers men and my friends-men to the March 8. Roses and carnations were the most expensive flowers in my city that time and only choice to give to women, except snowdrops, mimosas and tulips.
Now in every city of Ukraine men can find a huge selection of different flowers, not just for March 8, but any time of year. Ukrainian vendors love the March 8, because men are hitting flowers markets this day and few days before. March 8 tradition says, men have to give some gifts, greeting cards and flowers to the women of their life (wives, girlfriends, mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, women the co-workers, women the teachers in school, girls-classmates). But if it happened that Ukrainian man did not buy a gift to his woman (he cannot afford it or he is simply cheap), he SHOULD buy flowers, the tradition says. It is impossible to imagine the International Women’s Day in Ukraine without giving flowers to the women.
As March 8 it is a day off in Ukraine for women and for men as well, another tradition of this holiday says, that woman can sleep in that day and her man or men (a husband, a boyfriend, a sons) have to get up earlier and to make a breakfast to their dear woman or even festive dinner for March 8. Other words, Ukrainian men should cook for women this day. Knowing that most Ukrainian men hate to cook (for their opinion, cooking it is not a men’s job), it is a real challenge for them. After March 8 a kitchen at Ukrainian family usually looks like a big mess, but women are happy: at least their men tried :)
The International Women’s Day it is a rare holiday, which modern Ukraine brought over still from Soviet times. Women’s Day is especially popular in the Eastern and Central Ukraine. In the Western Ukraine March 8 came over after 1939, when West of Ukraine became a part of the former Soviet Union. Western Ukraine it is a part of Ukraine with the strongest Ukrainian traditions, therefore it is not surprisingly that some West Ukrainian protesters still do not happy of having March 8 in the official Ukrainian calendar. They say, March 8 it is not originally Ukrainian holiday. Well, let it is not originally Ukrainian, but what bad can happen, if Ukrainian men will treat their women like queens at least once in year :) ?
By the way, Ukrainians even have a special greeting to the women for March 8 “I wish you to have a March 8 all year long”. What means, “I wish you to have flowers, gifts and all the love and respect from your men every day of year”
International Women's Day, city of Ternopil, Western Ukraine: Men are hitting a flowers market
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