Women’s Day in Ukraine
March 8, Women’s Day in Ukraine, is a relic of the Soviet era. Women’s Day in Ukraine has lost its political meaning over the years. Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day rolled into one, this holiday is not just a way for men to celebrate women of all ages, but also the first spring holiday and a day of love, flowers and compliments. It is a day to express gratitude to women and acknowledge their presence and importance in our lives.
International Women’s Day is an annual Ukrainian holiday held on March 8 to celebrate the achievements of women. It is also celebrated in other countries worldwide. International Women’s Day focuses on protecting, promoting and celebrating women’s rights. It was a state holiday of the former Soviet Union since 1965. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Ukraine kept the holiday.
What Do People Do?
International Women’s Day is celebrated in Ukraine in the most thoughtful manner. There are a lot of activities and events that take place either on the eve or on the eighth of March to commemorate women’s importance, their status, their achievements and their rights. Conferences, presentations, and public gatherings are held to promote gender equality, equal opportunities, women’s rights, and other related issues. Many people buy flowers, confectionery and other gifts for female friends, partners or family members on International Women’s Day in Ukraine.
As this day is a public holiday across Ukraine, museums and libraries, many shops, as well as government offices and educational institutions remain closed.
If you happen to be in Ukraine on March 8, check out these tips on how to celebrate it.
Do buy flowers
Every woman in Ukraine enjoys receiving flowers on March 8. Tulips are the most common, and the type of flower women are most likely to get from male coworkers on Women’s Day. Be sure to give an odd number of flowers, since in Ukraine an even number of flowers are only for funerals. Also stay away from yellow (except for popular mimosa) especially when giving flowers to a superstitious girlfriend, as she might read it as a sign of an upcoming breakup.
Gifting flowers to women is not only a gesture of honour from their men, it also signifies the beginning of spring in Ukraine.
Order flowers for your Mum and Granny
Spring flowers are a key element of International Women Day. Whether it’s a bouquet of tulips, snowdrops, mimosa or all mixed together, they are sure to bring a smile on the face of your Mum, Granny, sister or beloved. In the midst of dull and snowy winter weather, the bright colours help bring joy and create a festive atmosphere. Don’t forget to order the flowers beforehand though, as it’s usually really crowded at the florist’s.
Be generous with compliments
In Ukraine, March, 8 is a day of ultimate leisure for women: they relax, receive congratulations, flowers and compliments. It is kind of an unwritten rule to say nice things, either with a heartwarming speech at the celebratory dinner, or just unexpectedly to remind them of your love and tender feelings.
Ukrainian women expect to hear a lot of compliments. Some men choose to write their good wishes in a greeting card (this is the most common for school peers and coworkers). If compliments are not something you’re good at, being nice to all the women you meet on this day is not a bad place to start.
However, Ukrainians know that it’s not the only day of the year when we should be sincere and kind to women.
Serve coffee and breakfast in bed
Though it’s a tender gesture at any time of year, serving coffee and breakfast in bed is another integral attribute of this particular holiday. Be creative: make French toast in a form of a heart, decorate a tray with fruit, flowers and sweets or simply cook her favourite dish. Making an effort with the little things always makes everyone happy.
As International Women’s Day is an official holiday in Ukraine, locals indulge in leisure options such as going shopping. To tie in with the holiday, a number of stores, shopping malls and showrooms, especially those of Ukrainian fashion designers, have special offers and discounts for women – some even serve champagne in the fitting rooms or give personal shopper services for free.
Create a homemade greeting card
Nothing makes a better gift than one crafted by your own fair hand. In every Ukrainian school and kindergarten, children observe tradition and make greeting cards for International Women’s Day. These mementoes are usually decorated with colourful cardboard, paper flowers and bright ribbons, which together with a spring bouquet and breakfast in bed, are a great way to surprise your favourite women.
Spend the day with your family
Ukrainians are known for their generous hospitality and cheerful disposition – most celebrations here are usually held in the family and friends circle, and International Women’s Day is no exception. March 8, Women’s Day in Ukraine is a day of joyous fun and inspiration. Many prefer to escape to their favourite destinations within the borders of Ukraine (Kyiv, Lviv or Odessa) to enjoy themselves. It’s a great opportunity to switch off mobile phones and to share precious time with loved ones.
Do choose gifts wisely
Shortly before March 8, a wave of male shoppers hits Ukrainian stores. They are buying gifts for all the important women in their lives. Gifts to women on March 8 are obligatory. From traditional flowers and chocolate, to surprise weekend vacations – women wait to get their gifts with nervous anticipation. Research says, Ukrainian women are not very happy to get bath gift baskets, perfume or kitchen appliances, but are much more eager to receive hand-made chocolate, spa certificates or a fancy new phone.
Do wine and dine
Making this day cooking free for women is the responsibility of every man. If you don’t feel like making a celebratory dinner by yourself, be sure to book a table at restaurant, but remember, that you’re probably not the only one planning a dinner out.
The majority of venues in Ukraine often have special menus, gifts and compliments to their female guests on this day.
Don’t ignore it
If you’re not living on a deserted island with no women around, there should be at least one person you’ll have to buy flowers for. Forgetting about this holiday altogether is considered highly impolite, so you’d better get that box of chocolates.
Don’t be unkind to women
Saying something unkind to a woman on this day is a mortal sin: be it a shop assistant, a female coworker, a friend or your wife. This day is all about women and by being impolite you’ll run the risk of being ostracized by society. No matter how much you’d like to see that football game or how badly you want to hang out with your friends, on this day it is just out of the question. Even if you don’t have a girlfriend or a wife, you’ll still have to drop by your mom’s place to give her obligatory flowers and a peck on a cheek.
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