Women’s Day (Festa della Donna): Girls Night Out or just Flowers?

Mimosa Flower

Across Italy and many other countries, March 8th is known as Women’s Day (or “Festa della Donna”).

Some say it celebrates historical achievements such as women’s right to vote, some say it’s in memory of a tragic fire which killed all of the women who worked in a textile company in New York, and still others say it was originated in Russia, and so on.

What is for sure is that in Italy it has become a symbolic event, where men celebrate the women in their lives in a way somewhat akin to a mixture of Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

As for how women feel about celebrating their being women, I believe they can be divided into 2 camps: the ones that like to do something special with other women that day, and the ones that lock themselves in the house because they think it’s the worst day of the year to go out … after all, there are only women out!

Personally I’ve always been part of the second group. I think we are special every day and we don’t need somebody to tell us on March 8th that we are, do we?

I do like receiving flowers though. I should say that I liked receiving flowers … since after I moved to the States, the fact that Women’s Day is not celebrated here turned out to be quite a convenient excuse for my husband to forget to buy me some!

Anyway, I don’t know of a woman out there that wouldn’t smile if somebody showed up at her door with a bouquet of flowers. And if you are a man, you should know that the traditional gift given on Women’s Day in Italy is the yellow mimosa. Italian men usually buy a mimosa bouquet on their way home from work and present it to their wife, mother, sister, daughter, etc. The nicer ones bring some to their female co-workers as well. But the sweetest thing I remember about Women’s Day goes back to my school days.

In fact, starting from elementary school, boys buy flowers for the girls in their class. Isn’t that sweet? I think it is, even though the other side of the story is a sad one for some of the girls, as the whole thing usually becomes a competition to see who received more flowers at the end of the day …

But the Italian tradition now goes beyond flowers. Many women will do a girls’ night out. Restaurants have special menus for them. No matter where you go on Women’s Day in Italy, there will be plenty of women out to celebrate in “women-only” dinners and parties!

Now, I know today is already March 7th, but you still have time to celebrate womanhood on Women’s Day this year. Whatever you decide to do, just remember that you are special all year around!

“There is no great man without a great woman on his side”, my mom used to tell me when I was little. I think she’s right, and the story of King George VI, celebrated on the big screen by Oscar winning actor Colin Firth in the movie, King’s Speech, confirms it all!

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