In today’s Russia International Women’s Day has nothing to do with the feminist movement for protection of women’s political rights. On this day women enjoy being taken care of by their men and children. 8 March is kind of a combination of St. Valentine's and Mother’s Day. It is a wonderful day of womanhood, love, flowers and indulgence. Being a National Holiday in Russia International Women’s Day is free from work.
91% of Russian women and 82% of Russian men consider Women’s Day as an important private holiday. These are the results of the survey conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (WCIOM) in February 2008. Most Russians (45%) celebrate Women’s Day at home enjoying a big meal. 18% are going to visit their friends. Only 3% of the Russians are planning to go out to a restaurant.
Russian women are likely to receive following gifts:
- Flowers (40%)
- Souvenirs (post cards, pens, writing pads, purses, etc.) (31%)
- Chocolate (26%)
- Fragrances and Cosmetics (22%)
Only 11% of the Russians are not going to give presents on March, 8.
Flowers are the best Women’s Day gift. This fact was also confirmed by the study conducted by the Levada Center in February 2007. 50% of Russian women would be happy to receive flowers. Only 16% are looking for getting a perfume or another cosmetic item. Just 15% could be pleased by chocolates and sweets. And the worst gift seems to be a book or a CD (3%).
Important notes about giving flowers in Russia:
- Always give an odd number of flowers to Russian women! In Russia, an even number of flowers are given only on funerals.
- Naturally, flowers must be fresh.
- Tulips are symbols of spring. Along with mimosas and daffodils, tulips are the most popular flowers given on Women’s Day.
- Also the colour of flowers might be important. Some superstitious Russian women associate yellow flowers with unfaithfulness and a break-up. It is better choosing red or white flowers. The only exception to this rule is the yellow mimosa, one of the typical flowers given on the Women's Day.
Send flowers to Russia (or any other country)
Language Exercise for the Women's Day - surprise Russian women with some nice words.
Russian Drinking Toasts the Women's Day, 8 March - the Russians drink "To women!" - За женщин! [za zhén-shsheen]
Servey 2010: The perfect woman
Source: "Russian Public Opinion Research Center" (OAO "VCIOM")
- The perfect Mother: caring (67%), economical (66%), able to deal with blows of fate (39%), intelligent (37%), sympathetic (35%).
- The perfect wife: economical (61%), faithful und intelligent (je 47%)
- The perfect lover: attractive and sexy (á 49%), passionate (30%)
- Woman as a friend: sympathetic (49%), decent (49%), intelligent (35%)
- Woman as a boss: intelligent (60%), well organized (47%), success-oriented (41%), decent (31%)
- Woman as a colleague: intelligent (46%), well organized (46%), decent (44%), success-oriented (31%)
Women’s Day was celebrated already in ancient Rome. Matrons (free married women) got presents or other nice treats from their husbands. Even female slaves received gifts and were granted a couple of work-free hours. Wearing festive gowns and flowers in their hair, women went to temples of Vesta, the Roman Goddess of the hearth and home.
A couple of centuries later women started to fight for their rights. On 8 March 1857 female garment workers marched through New York City protesting against low wages and poor working conditions. At the Second International Conference of Socialist Women held in 1910 in Copenhagen, the German feminist Clara Zetkin suggested to dedicate 8 March to women’s fight for equal rights.
Russia started celebrating International Women’s Day in 1913. As after the October Revolution in 1917 Bolshevists guaranteed equal rights for everyone, women didn’t have to fight for their rights any more. So 8 March turned into one of the most beautiful holidays that welcomes springtime with lots of flowers and loving compliments.
Dear men! Even if your girlfriends, wives, mothers, mothers-in-law, grannies, aunts and daughters don’t know anything about the Russian Women’s Day, they would be delighted to get a nice surprise. Perhaps even more then Russian women, as they wouldn’t expect you to surprise them on this day. You surely know the best way to make your women feel happier. The most important thing on March, 8 is to show how much you care. Fresh flowers, a box of chocolates, unexpected dinner in a restaurant or a self-cooked meal make this day to something special. Just stop women doing housework or boring grocery shopping. Do those things yourself and let women take a break and relax by giving them, for example, a massage voucher.
Keep in mind that March, 8 is not St. Valentine's Day for lovers to celebrate in private. It is absolutely normal in Russia to give a party for family and friends. Everyone comes together and men cook, for example.
Unfortunately March, 8 isn’t a day-off in most countries but it still can be a reason for a nice weekend surprise.