Upon finding some facts and information about International Women’s Day, I became very interested in how the holiday and the feeling of womanhood appreciation changed with people living in New York City. I asked my mom about how it is celebrated differently in New York than it was in the Soviet Union, and she responded with some very interesting, almost unbelievable feelings. She said that March 8th was an extremely joyous day in the Soviet Union and every man made the women feel important and appreciated. She told me that there were lines stretching out for blocks outside of every flower store, and the way she spoke reminded me of how we celebrate Valentine’s day in New York. The most interesting thing I got out of interviewing my mom, however, was that in New York, barely any people celebrate this holiday. She mentioned that it is recognized and although some people do still honor women on this day, most earlier generations have replaced International Women’s Day with holidays such as Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. See the interview below! (It is in Russian, but I provided a translated text underneath the video).
Translation from Russian to English:
Me:What does March 8th mean to you?
Svetlana: I know there is a holiday, March 8th, International Women’s Day, that they celebrated in the Soviet Union and other socialist nations in Europe. We gave our mothers flowers.
Me: Just mothers?
Svetlana: Boys got flowers for their loved ones. It was like a Mother’s Day combined with Valentine’s Day. All women were being appreciated.
Me: How does International Women’s Day differ in its recognition in the former Soviet Union to how it is recognized in New York?
Svetlana: There, in Europe, it is still a huge holiday. Here, it is almost never recognized in the Soviet community. We don’t really celebrate it. I don’t think many still do in New York. Only older Soviet people. The grandmothers and grandfathers, and generally the older generations celebrate this day because it used to be a big part of their lives. I don’t celebrate it.
Me: Do your children and husbands give you presents?
Svetlana: No. They give me gifts on Mother’s Day, not on March 8th. Even my husband told me that since he already celebrated Valentine’s Day with me, it is not necessary to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Me: Was it a very important holiday in the Soviet Union?
Svetlana: Yes, for every woman. Since we did not have Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day that is all we had.
Me: How do you feel about replacing one of your most widely celebrated holidays with Americanized ones?
Svetlana: Here, life is more busy and hectic and what holidays are celebrated do not phase me much. I do not feel nostalgic at all.
Here are some events that are created by people in New York in order to celebrate International Women’s Day:
1) Date & time:23 May 2011 8.00
End date:25 May 2011 5.00
Event:5TH ANNUAL M.O.M. CONFERENCE & MAMA EXPO
About:CALL FOR PAPERS: M.O.M. (Museum Of Motherhood) & MFI (Motherhood Foundation Inc.) The Vulnerable Mother: Social Interactions, Institutions, and Systems of Cultural Values and our answer to that! Mothers in the Arts, Literature, Media and Popular Culture Academic, Artistic, Cultural and Socially Relevant Presentations Welcome!
Venue:Marymount Manhattan College, theaters, parks and public performance spaces New York City, NY – USA , Manhattan, 10013
Organisation:Motherhood Foundation Inc.: The Motherhood Foundation Inc. is a certified nonprofit 501c3 that creates, produces and presents artistic, educational and cultural content that studies and supports mothers and their activities.
2) Date & time:03 August 2011 7.00
End date:03 September 2011 8.15
Event:YOGA TO UNITE WOMANKIND
About:Tuesday, March 8, Level I Yoga class will be dedicated to women all around the world. We will celebrate the beauty and light of womankind.
Venue:Bamboo Moves Yoga 3045 Buhre Ave Bx, NY 10461, Bronx, 10461
Organisation:Bamboo Moves Yoga: Bamboomoves is a holistic health community devoted to guiding people towards a lifestyle of health, happiness, and self-knowledge
3) Date & time:12 January 2011 9.00
End date:01 December 2011 9.00
Event:PUBLICATION OF COMMEMORATIVE POSTER, TSHIRT, NOTECARDS AND MORE AS IWD FUNDRAISING RESOURCES
About:Historic, full-color 24×36″poster based on original art by Latina activist Favianna Rodriguez. Cards/bookmarks by Chicago Women’s Graphics Collective Founder Estelle Carol. Many more products.
Venue:North America, mostly, and beyond, Syracuse
Organisation:Syracuse Cultural Workers: SCW is a peace & justice, feminist publisher, distributing print visual resources across N.A. Part of a movement for progressive social change, our products are produced using environmentally sound practices + fair wage or union labor.
ALSO! Baruch college celebrated this year’s International Women’s Day 100th year anniversary by setting up a table above the second floor escalators and gave out roses to all the women who passed it! 🙂