La Festa Della Donna-International Women’s Day, March 8

La Festa Della Donna

On March 8, in Italy the yellow mimosa is given to all women to celebrate La Festa Della Donna.  It is different than Mother’s Day where only mothers are celebrated. This includes all women, and even women give the mimosa to each other. It is an expression of female solidarity. Some say the tradition of giving the mimosa began in Rome after World War II. Men began giving the mimosa to their partners,co-workers, friends and family.
On this day, there is an all out effort to show kindness and caring for all women, and since yellow mimosa are blooming in Italy at this time of year, it was a natural choice. (I tried to find it in Iowa, but it’s not available!)

I had not realized that  International Women’s Day is celebrated worldwide on March 8 and acknowledged by the United Nations. To find all the international events, click here. The purpose of this day is to inspire and honor women. It is a day to celebrate women but was originally started to focus on women workers, and advancing women’s rights in the workforce, politics and society.

The first International Women’s Day in the United States was held on March 19, 1911, and it has been growing ever since.  However, today I asked about a dozen girlfriends, plus the local florist, if they knew about this special day, and all of them said no.  I knew Italy celebrated, but this year I’m realizing that it is international. I don’t see many of us here in the US celebrating, nor do the flower shops seem to be promoting it.
On the other hand,  in 2011, President Barack Obama designated the whole month of March as Women’s History Month in the United States.  So, we still have time to honor women’s achievements.
In addition, in 2011, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the “100 Women Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls through International Exchanges” in honor of International Women’s Day.
For 2012, the United Nation’s theme for International Women’s Day is Empower Women – End Hunger and Poverty.  Kudos to the UN because the Charter of the United Nations, signed in San Franciso, in 1945, was the first international agreement to state gender equality as a fundamental human right.

So, on Thursday, March 8, whether we give and receive mimosa or not,  let us practice random acts of kindness to every woman we meet, including ourselves.  Then continue the practice each and every day.

What will you do to celebrate?  I am meeting a few friends for lunch and a few more for coffee.  I will donate to the Wellness Initiative, dedicated to helping children of low-income youth stay healthy through yoga-based wellness classes. I was doing yoga while pregnant with my daughter, Grace, and she has done yoga since she was 5 years old. In her spare time, she volunteers for the Wellness Initiative.  Any amount given is greatly appreciated.

Let me know how you celebrate National Women’s Day, Women’s History Month,  and how you honor other women and yourselves.

Photo credit: lindyloumac.blogspot.com