Today is International Women’s Day. But while the day goes almost unnoticed in Belgium, in Russia it’s a big deal.
First of all, it’s a day off. And this year not just one, but two, as most people got yesterday off as well! Any holiday only becomes important when you get time off to celebrate it, right?
In Belgium, Women’s Day is mostly about promoting women’s rights and gender equality. In Russia, however, it’s lost most of its political meaning (unfortunately – it wouldn’t hurt to promote gender equality a bit more here, I think!) and has become more similar to Mother’s Day.
Men will give flowers and small gifts to all the women in their life: not just mothers and grandmothers, but also their girlfriend or wife, daughters, sisters, colleagues and schoolmates.
Although spring still seems quite far away (everything’s still covered in a thick layer of snow and we haven’t seen much sunshine for a while now), today’s also a day to honour spring. That’s why the flowers that are given to women today are often typical spring flowers like tulips.
But there’s actually another holiday next week that traditionally celebrates the imminent end of winter: Maslenitsa, the Russian variant of Carnival. I’ll be writing more about that soon!
Here’s how Women’s Day was celebrated at Wim’s work last Friday (I got the leftovers – yay!):
And here’s how we celebrated it this morning: