Initially this holiday had a political context to symbolize the international fight for women’s rights, full equality with men, democracy and peace. As the time passed, the political motives of the holiday moved to the background, and the 8th of March became a women’s holiday in Ukraine and other republics of the former USSR.
Different countries have different ways of celebrating.
Bulgarians, for example, have an interestingly ambiguous attitude to it. Some women even forget about their day or consciously refuse celebration. Others see it as a wonderful opportunity to congratulate themselves, their mothers or their sisters. In Italy, women with close relationships gather and have a great time. The 8th of March in China is a very quiet day. It is not appropriate to give such a traditional gift as a bouquet of flowers. Only a fussy foreigner will be looking for roses, tulips or narcissuses in the streets.
Ukrainians always enjoy holidays, celebrations and noisy festivities. International Women’s Day is no exception. One might compare the 8th of March in Ukraine with Mother’s Day in the West, although the Ukrainian holiday is celebrated by all women, including mothers, grandmothers, daughters and girlfriends. Ukrainian men can’t miss the opportunity to express love, gratitude, respect and honor to their dear women.
There are no strict traditions of celebrating this comparatively new holiday. Everything depends on the men’s creativity and desire to astonish. It is an official day off in Ukraine, so men can start surprising their loved ones early in the morning: preparing breakfast, coffee in bed, flowers throughout the house etc.
Not only men, but children also congratulate their mothers, mothers congratulate their daughters etc. Special holidays are organized in the kindergartens and at schools where children prepare concerts and present hand-made postcards to their mothers. Some Ukrainian men like to undertake all household duties this day—starting with washing dishes and ending with cooking dinner and looking after the children, so that women can enjoy a full day of rest and focus on themselves. Every woman expects to receive gifts on this day, and she will be really offended if you don’t think of anything interesting and unique for her. Almost every man puzzles his brain over gifts to present the woman, and it is always difficult to guess what she would like to get and what would make her happy.
Here are some traditional gifts that a Ukrainian woman will be satisfied with for sure:
1Flowers are obligatory, whether a bouquet of fresh flowers or flowers in a pot. Choose spring flowers, such as tulips, orchids or snowdrops. They will remind you that a blooming season has come, and your woman will blossom along with them.
2Don’t give your woman any kitchen tools or appliances if she didn’t ask you for them. Invite her to a restaurant, and let her forget all daily routines and things to take care of. It is a great occasion for her to put on a little black dress and enjoy live music, delicious food and a romantic atmosphere.
3The best friend of women is jewelry: wonderful earrings, an elegant necklace or luxurious bracelets. Choose something precious, and she will shine bright like a diamond.
Tastes differ, but the rule of thumb is to give something that will please the woman.
4Consider letting your woman spend the whole day doing beauty procedures. She will be extremely happy to take care of her body, relax and feel like a goddess.
5Present her with an experience: a hot-air balloon flight, horseback riding, recording a song in a studio, a fashion parade, swimming with dolphins etc. She will be grateful to you for these impressions, which she can keep for the rest of her life.
6Most of women are fond of chocolates, candies and cakes, and there is no doubt that your darling will enjoy it, if she is not on a diet. Just be attentive when presenting sweets not to make her sad or angry.
Today, nobody remembers the 8th of March as a revolutionary or political holiday. That is cool! It is much better to speak about love, spring, and beauty, and to give women flowers, gifts and joy this day.
When Ukrainians want to wish someone a happy 8th of March, they say the following phrases:З 8 БЕРЕЗНЯ!
· [I wish you a] Happy 8th of March!
· Вітаю з 8 березня!
· Have a happy 8th of March!
· З Міжнародним жіночим днем!
· [I wish you a] Happy International Women’s Day!