March 8th is the International Women’s Day (Festa della Donna in Italian) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
This celebration has its origins in 100 years ago when, in 1908 hundreds of women workers in the New York needle trades demonstrated in Rutgers Square in Manhattan’s Lower East Side to form their own union and to demand the right to vote.This historic demonstration took place early March. It led, in the following year, to the ‘uprising’ of 30,000 women shirtwaist makers, which resulted in the first permanent trade unions for women workers in the USA.
Meanwhile news of the heroic fight of US women workers reached Europe, in particular it inspired European socialist women who had established, on the initiative of the German socialist feminist, Clara Zetkin, the International Socialist Women’s Conference. In 1945 the Union of Italian Women declared that this special date, March the 8th, should be set aside to celebrate womanhood across the country.
What does happen in Italy on the 8th of March, then? The symbol of the day is the yellow mimosa and expression of female solidarity. This flower was chosen by Italian feminists as the symbol of the holiday in 1946, to mark the first occasion of the holiday after the end of World War II. It was chosen because of its bright color and fragrant scent, and because it is in bloom at this time of year and is inexpensive.
Men began giving the mimosa to their partners, friends, co-workers, and family give to their significant others, colleagues, mothers and sisters blossoming branches of this tree. Today, it has evolved and now women also give mimosa to each other.
Cultural demonstrations and political rallies are still held to remember to all of us all fights women had to endure for their rights and what is till left to do in order to have every member of society, male or female, treated in perfect equal way.
In Italy there are also many typical dishes and culinary creations for the day: mimosa eggs (similar to deviled eggs), linguine mimosa (with curry to create the yellow of the flower), tagliatelle mimosa (with finely scrambled eggs), risotto mimosa…the list goes on and on as far as your imagination can take you. But the most famous is probably the delicious “Torta Mimosa.”
In recent years, March 8 has a day for many women to go out with their girlfriends and enjoy themselves. Many restaurants and clubs offer special events for Festa della Donna.