Although nowadays many people in Russia associate March 8 with an extra day-off, the holiday has very serious roots. So apart from getting to know a Russian way of celebrating International Women’s Day, below you can read about the historical origins of this spring holiday.


Initially, the date was created by a social movement. In February 1908, women of New York went on the streets to demand equal salary and voting rights. In 1910, at the Female conference German socialists and famous Clara Zetkin together with Rosa Luxemburg agreed on the need to have a special holiday to promote female rights, including suffrage ones.

In Russia, the event occurred only in 1913. Women’s day was not very peaceful and was accompanied by meetings and demonstrations. Thus, on February 23, 1917, a textile workers strike and the following procession of requiring equal rights for women became a trigger to the later protests of the February Revolution.

Coinciding with such an important date in Soviet history, the holiday founded in the USSR. Approximately until the 70s, March 8 associated with revolution’s participants and their successful fight for women’s independence.

Changing trend

Anyway, the history of the holiday on the west and in Russia states that, first of all, it was suggested as a tool of emancipation and popularization of respect towards women.

There is no historical evidence how and why flower and chocolate trend replaced meetings and demonstrations on the International Women’s Day. Some authors assume that it was due to conscious and gradual policy of the Soviet government. Already in the 30s, special female units that worked for promoting women’s rights were abolished. Thereby, womankind lost its social elevator and could not reach the desired equality. Existing female organizations did not make huge impact. Gradually, the revolutionary theme disappeared. A new trend on highlighting women’s beauty and motherhood came in sight.

In 1966, March 8 became a day-off in Russia. Thus, the active idea of the whole date eventually faded away. Today International Women’s Day in Russia is all about women. There is a tradition to present flowers, perfume, sweets and other nice souvenirs to ladies of any age. Quite often men take over women’s responsibilities on this day. Speaking of the flowers, especially popular and symbolic one is mimosa.

If you want to have a small gift to your Russian female friend of any age, mimosa will be a safe option. Learn more about other celebrations in Russia and have a wonderful beginning of spring!