International Women’s Day in Russia is celebrated on March 8and it is an officially declared public holiday. The origin of this day goes back to the year 1913 and has distinct political connotations as this day is connected with the struggle of women who demanded the right to vote and their emancipationvia public demonstrations and rallies. Against the backdrop of World War I, Russian women held public rallies campaigning for both peace and their right to vote. Women from other continents also led street demonstrations on or around the same date demanding gender equality, better pay, and their right to hold public offices. As Russian women’s uproar grew stronger and many other activists expressed solidarity,the then Russian ruler, Czar abdicated in the year 1917 and the Provisional Government granted women the right to vote. From 1918,8 March became a recognized public holiday in Russia.
Today International Women’s Day in Russia is free of any political meaning and is observed by all Russians. Women’s Day in Russia is as important as Mother’s Day. In fact,this day is such a big public holiday in Russia that is just referred to as “the 8th of March” instead of “Women’s Day”. On this day, Russian men gift flowers and presents to all the important women in their lives and Russian women exchange gifts among themselvesas well.They wisheach other “C vos’mym Marta!” i.e. Happy March 8th!
As it is a recognized national holiday, many workers get the day off. Russia is still quite a patriarchal society hence women’s day hereis an important public holiday as its beginning is profoundly embedded in Russian history. Like every country, Russia also has its own characteristic way of celebrating this day. With many feminist issues associated with this holiday, Russia’s celebration style and intensity is pretty different from other egalitarian societies. This may seem to be a bit patronizing to Russian women however a much modern Russia today finds that designating this day to women can be an empowering and encouraging factor for all Russian women. Even Russian women living abroad in more egalitarian societies have a soft corner for this holiday and they reach out to their acquaintances in their home country to enquire how the holiday was spent and what activities took place.
Women’s Day in Russia is marked by the popular practice of gifting flowers to women. If you go there on a holiday on or around 8 March, you will see happy girls and women carrying bouquets of roses, tulips, and chamomiles gifted by their men. As flowers are the mostadmired gifts of Women’s Day in Russia, many Russians call March 8 the “Day of Spring and Flowers”. This day in Russia is all in all a very happy day full of positive emotions, blooming flowers, and pleasant gifts and surprises for women. Men thank their women for being there during the untoward of times and munificently congratulate and compliment them encouraging them to move ahead in life.