How International Women’s Day is celebrated in Italy
International Women’s Day, or La Festa Della Donna, is a popular holiday in Italy and is celebrated each year on 8th March. It’s a day that is internationally recognised for the contribution and celebration of women’s economic, political and social achievements.
The holiday is deeply rooted in the feminist struggle for equal rights and the worldwide recognition of women’s contributions in every area of society, throughout history and today.
Did you know, International Women’s Day began as a kind of memorial and protest day following a tragic event in New York in 1908? In early March of 1908, the all-female workers at a textile factory went on strike to protest the substandard conditions they were forced to work in. On 8th March, the owner of the factory blocked the exits and set the building alight. The 129 factory workers who were trapped inside, made up of mostly Italian immigrants, all sadly died.
In Italy today, the celebration of “La Festa della Donna” has become similar to Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. It’s celebrated in many ways, largely surrounding the national symbol of women’s day in Italy; the Mimosa flower.
Gifting of Mimosas
On this day, the importance of women is celebrated by the gifting and receiving of mimosa blossom. The Mimosa 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 for its bright colour, fragrance and ample availability at this time of year.
Every year in Italy, leading up to the Festa Della Donna, you will notice bunches upon bunches of bright yellow mimosa flowers. People walking around with freshly purchased posies of mimosas, on their way to gift it to the special women in their lives, or women who have just received them, is also very common sight in Italy on International Women’s Day.
Women will receive bouquets of mimosa flowers as a symbol of love and appreciation from the men in their lives; fathers, husbands, sons, friends, or employers. But it’s not just about men giving flowers to women. Women also give mimosas to their mothers, sisters, friends, and other women who are important to them. If you’re on holiday in Italy during International Women’s Day, often hotels will gift a posie of mimosas to their female guests.
Mimosa Inspired Food
Italians also celebrate with a huge variety of food dishes inspired by the mimosa in honour of the Festa Della Donna. From cakes to mimosa eggs (similar to deviled eggs), spaghetti mimosa (with finely scrambled eggs), risotto mimosa and many more!
Bakeries often make “Torta Mimosa”, a delicious dessert combining sugar, orange juice, whipped cream and orange liqueur. It’s both beautiful to look at and to devour!
While mimosas may not be so available here in Birmingham, there are so many ways to show love and appreciation for the women in our lives. Whatever your plans are, we wish you a buona festa della donna – a very happy International Women’s Day!