Ukraine Celebrates Womanhood on International Women’s Day
Kyiv, March 8, 2012. Today is a special day for women, who receive countless flowers and presents from the men in their lives, celebrating their femininity. The International Women’s Day (IWD) started as a socialist event, but later evolved into an important holiday in Ukraine. Today all of the attendees could participate in a number of organized activities such as a women’s auto rally, the largest flower arrangement composition, and they could make a gigantic postcard expressing their best wishes. Nevertheless, as citizens of country that meticulously preserves its customs and traditions, Ukrainians still remember the historical background of this event.
“This day used to be dedicated to women’s struggle for equal rights, higher salaries and so forth, but we grew since that period, and now all of that is in the past. Now this is just a day when women are recognized and I think that we need days like this, same as a Children’s Day, a Dad’s Day or Mother’s Day,” says Svitlana Kyrylchuk, the owner of café Khochu in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.
Women are considered the backbone to their families, the matriarchs of their communities, and have continued to hold onto their hard working ways. , “Historically women always had a special place in Ukrainian culture. We’ve inherited the matriarchy that existed here long time ago, so we feel it naturally. A woman in Ukraine has always been highly regarded,” said Marichka Kryzhanivska, journalist at Ukrainian TV Channel 24.
Solomiya Chubay, an art-manager and dedicated mother and wife explains her take on Ukrainian woman: “Just like before, nowadays a woman is everything. She works, she cooks, and she drives. We don’t have those stereotypes anymore where a woman is regarded no more than a housewife. Today it’s normal to see a woman in Ukraine who raises her children and works at the same time.”
Many Ukrainian men indicate that although IWD is a designated day for the celebration of women most women hold no expectation for gratitude. In fact, it’s becoming common practice in Ukraine to appreciate women in everyday life, regardless of the holiday. “As men we work with women every day, and we should pay more attention, respect, and recognition to them. I think there is no reason to reserve special day for such a holiday. It’s like telling our women that we remember them only once a year and that is it. I don’t think this is the right way,” said Roman Zaiats, a partner at MJoy Radio station.
The March 8th holiday is traditionally accompanied with a flower rush. There is no doubt that year after year tulips remain the trade mark flower for this holiday. “Tulips lead our flower sales today. They are spring flowers, but most importantly they are cold resistant,” said tulip merchant Genadiy Kuksov. “Being Greeted with flowers any day of the year is nothing but pure pleasure. So, if my husband gives me flowers on March 8th I will happily accept them and will be grateful,” exclaims Solomiya Chubay.
International Women’s Day was conceived in 1909 when the Socialist Party of America started it as a socialist event. The holiday gained international recognition by 1910. The political aim of the holiday was to promote the introduction of voting rights for women as well as their right to hold public office. The supporters of the movement also fought for non-discriminatory employment of both sexes. On this day, many women of strong character spoke of the trials and tribulations they had to overcome. As time passed the holiday lost its political motive and served for praising women in general.