Happy International Women's Day!
All over the world people celebrated women today, and in Italy this UN-recognized holiday has its own unique traditions to honor all women; from the past and present. It's celebrated in a way similar to Mother's Day, with men making the women in their lives feel special by gifting flowers and finding other ways to show their appreciation. The traditional gift to give women in Italy on this day are the yellow mimosas (the flower, not the cocktail) and are sold on almost every corner. It's a symbol to express female solidarity, a sign of love and appreciation, and is said to have started in Rome after World War II, although the origins are not certain. Women also incorporate the bright yellow color into their clothing and jewelry, even in food made specifically for the holiday like the torta mimosa - a yellow crumbled sponge cake made to represent the mimosa flower.
Italy decided to further celebrate the day by granting women free entry to all museums and cultural heritage sites in the country. Musueums everywhere made a point to feature work from female artists and showcase pieces that celebrate notable women and their accomplishments. A social media campaign was also launched by @MuseItaliani, the official Instagram account of Italy's state-run museums, with the hashtag #8marzoalmuseo (March 8th at the museum) to tell the stories of celebrated Italian women in history who contributed to the arts. Give the account a visit to learn more!
All over Italy, other events were also held to highlight and recognize women. In Milan specifically, an enormous white canvas was spread out in front of the Duomo in the city center for people to write empowering messages against gender violence and discrimination. It was amazing to see not only women, but men as well, come together and leave their inspiring words for others.
This holiday actually originated as a political event with its roots being traced back to the strike in 1908 carried out by 15,000 female garment workers in New York City, marching to demand voting rights, better pay, and more gender equality. In 1945, the director of the Italian Women's Union, Teresa Mattei, declared March 8th as the official day to commemorate female resilience and celebrate women across Italy.
From snapchat filters, to special discounts, Women's Day or Festa delle Donne is recognized and celebrated by Italians everywhere and being a part of the festivities in Milan definitely made me fall in love with the city even more!
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Abigail is our 2016-17 IES Abroad Blogger of the Year! Abigail studies Economics and International Studies with a minor in Business Administration at Brandeis University—where she is also an IES Abroad Ambassador. As a Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 Blogger, Abigail illustrated her year abroad in Milan through her insightful posts and candid photography that navigated her growth in the historical city of Milan.