International Women's Day: Traditions and Customs


International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th of each year. Originally it was called International Working Women’s Day, established in acknowledgement of the economic, political and social achievements of women. Started as a political event, the holiday evolved differently in the culture of many countries.

In some countries, Women’s Day lost its political flavor, and became a great occasion for men to express their love to women. In a way, it became a cross between Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. In 1975, the United Nations officially started the celebration of International Women’s Day.

Nowadays, different countries do different activities for International Women’s Day. For example, in Italy, men offer yellow mimosas to women as a special gift. In Russia, flowers and chocolates are the most common gifts on March 8th. In Asia, the custom of giving flowers is still accurate as of today. In Portugal and Romania, women gather in groups and celebrate with “women-only” dinners and parties. In India, Women’s Day is very significant. Parties and celebrations are held to show the power of women and their active role in society.  One of my favorite March 8th traditions originates in Russia where policemen stop women drivers, not to give them a speeding ticket, but to present them with a flower – an unexpected gesture sure to leave women smiling!

It is exciting to see that with each year more U.S. companies are getting involved, acknowledging and celebrating International Women's Day. This year Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple Inc., tweeted: "Women's rights are human rights! Today we celebrate, we speak up and we listen!" 

Happy International Women's Day!