One hundred years of (Inter)National Women’s Day (NWD)

In a year that seems to have been one anniversary after another,  yesterday – 28 February – marked the centenary of the first National Women’s Day.  Officially, however, the centenary celebrations won’t be held until 2011 because National Women’s Day only became an international event three years later when it was first held on 19 March 1911.

The first National Woman’s Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on 28 February 1909 and continued to be celebrated as NWD on the last Sunday of February until 1913.

On the eve of World War I campaigning for peace, Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. In 1913 following discussions, International Women’s Day was transferred to 8 March and this day has remained the global date for International Women’s Day ever since. In 1914 further women across Europe held rallies to campaign against the war and to express women’s solidarity.

Although there’s still a week to go until March 8, I thought about International Women’s Day today when the sight of the gorse flowering on the hillside reminded me of the softly fragrant sprigs of mimosa blossom  traditionally offered to women for “La Festa della Donna” in Italy and other Mediterranean countries.  Gorse obviously lacks the romantic quality of mimosa but its feisty yellow colour and waxy honeyed scent are wonderfully cheering and a reminder that spring will soon be on the way, even here in Scotland!

gorse

Yellow is traditionally associated with International Women’s Day but I’m not quite sure why – I think it probably started with the Italian tradition of giving mimosa which is thought to date back to the end of the Second World War.  There may also be a link to the “Bread and Roses” strike which took place in 1912, the year after the first International Women’s Day was held. James Oppenheim‘s poem celebrating the Lawrence Strike became an anthem for the emancipation of women:

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for — but we fight for roses, too!
As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days.
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler — ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses!

mimosa_festa_donna

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About Lucy Byatt

I'm a translator, from Italian into English. I also teach Italian Renaissance history and write.
This entry was posted in Cultural history, Italy and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to One hundred years of (Inter)National Women’s Day (NWD)

  1. Sam says:

    Hi Lucy, I thought you’d like to know that Amnesty UK is focusing on violence against women for International Women’s Day. We’re asking people to change their Facebook status, Myspace headline and tweet to raise awareness of the fact that each year, around 1 in 10 women in Britain experience rape or other violence. Check out http://www.oneten.org.uk

  2. lucy says:

    Thanks, Sam. I’ve added your page to Facebook and hope that this might let a few others follow the link.

  3. livexcel says:

    A Tribute to Women – The Architects of Life

    International Women’s Day – Commemorating;

    Celebrating with Pride; Women, the Pride of the World

    It is a great privilege and honor to express these few words of admiration and appreciation in honor of Women; the Pride of our Lives

    Architects with Pride

    Women are indeed the proud architects of Life

    Guidance

    Women provide immense guidance along every structure of life

    Foundations

    Women construct foundations that encompass virtues of the highest goodness for one and all meaningfully

    Envisage; Vision; Wisdom

    Women envisage their expectations manifesting with a vision of wisdom as only women can

    Family; Passions

    Women empower their Families; enabling them to re discover their passions in life meaningfully

    Instrumental; Steps

    Women perceive impediments as stepping stones to potential accomplishments

    Hallmarks

    Women sketch the hallmarks of time with heart prints of love that only women can

    Women; Mothers

    Women as Mothers are the epitome of divinity

    Teacher; Imparting Values Based Principles Teachings

    Women are amongst the the wisest of teachers

    Legends; Centuries

    Women are amongst the very greatest of legends since time immemorial

    Intuitive – Insightful

    Women are intuitive and insightful; articulating their notions intuitively

    Eminent Reminder

    Women thoughtfully remind us that the Soul characterizes the essence of life

    Admiration

    Women compliment each and every day of life, by defining the virtue of admiration eloquently; only as women can

    Affection; Love & Respect

    Women spend their lifetime showering immense affection to each and every aspect of life; only as women can

    Appreciation

    Women teach us to immensely appreciate and recognize of the phenomenal treasures of versatile abilities that we have been endowed with and to utilize these meaningfully

    Beauty; Heart Perceiving

    Women teach us to understand and recognize that the true beauty of life is not relating to the physical appearance; but to the beauty of the Heart

    Compassion

    Women enable us to perceive the purity of our hearts filled with compassion; to recognize the gentleness; the compassionate nature that dwells within

    Consideration

    Women teach us that consideration and thoughtfulness for others around us creates an incredible difference and impact in our lives as well

    Creativity

    Women encourage us to become more creative and explore our greater potentialities meaningfully whilst managing the certainties that dwell alongside

    Courage

    Women truly bring out the moral courage that resides within us magnificently

    Determination

    Women with their resilient attitude and determination show us that the endurance; the strength within us is inspired with an indomitable willpower

    Encouragement; Meaningful Balance

    Women encourage us to soar to reach the altitudes of meaningful objectives and accomplishments, whilst reminding us to simultaneously maintain our attention on the ascent to the pinnacle precariously; as well as ensuring our optimal balance is carefully maintained-sustained diligently

    Faith

    Women teach us to believe in our true selves with the purpose of accomplishing greater good for others and ourselves as well

    Gratitude

    Women teach us that gratitude is essentially a sign of nobility; the more grateful we are; the more meaningful we are; the more purposeful we are and the more responsible we are while gratefully acknowledging all that we have humbly; we are further equipped with more resourcefulness accordingly

    Happiness

    Women bring tremendous happiness to their families with their graceful and loving attitude always

    Hope

    Women inspire us to have hope; to trust and recognize its uniqueness

    Inspiration

    Women inspire us with their caring touch in every aspect of family upbringing; family evolution; nurturing each life preciously and adding meaningfulness to every aspect as only women can do

    Intelligence

    Women are intelligent and demonstrate their proficiency in being able to grasp and understand various aspects of life more meaningfully

    Motivation

    Women motivate us to recognize the value of each moment for what it signifies and to ensure that it is wisely invested in with a meaningful approach always

    Noble

    Women are noble and bring about remarkable changes in the World at every instance by truly winning the admiration and hearts of People always; Whenever any reference is attributed to Women, it is extended with the very highest Pride; Honor and Nobility

    Passion

    Women evoke us to instill a passion for appreciation of the very finest in life always and making us believe that we have what it takes to accomplish meaningful objectives

    Peace

    Women teach us that the theory of peaceful co existence; non violence in all forms of thoughts; speeches and actions is among the very most vital and essential ingredient of each an every aspect of life

    Purposeful

    Women are purposeful and thoughtfully express their perspective with a meaningful approach regarding various aspects of life

    Virtues

    Women are gifted with so many more wonderful and the very most finest virtues that they are always enriching each and every aspect of life meaningfully

    To give an example

    When we perceive the attitude; the compassion; the love and care; the gracefulness of Mothers; we are humbly appreciative; grateful; very most thankful and always Respectfully acknowledging the greatness of Mothers; Truly Mothers are the greatest gift of God

    Teach

    Mothers always teach us to appreciate what we have in life; to recognize the value of each and every aspect in life; to be appreciative; to be grateful; to be thankful and to meaningfully; purposefully and responsibly utilize each and every moment in life meticulously and very preciously

    Mothers teach us that

    Mothers teach us that grandeur; the beauty of life cannot be touched or experienced with our vision alone; it is the perception with our truly awakened heart; intellect; mind and soul that we are able to perceive the wonderfulness of this Universe and its magnificence

    Mothers also teach us that

    Mothers also teach us to have hope; courage and a vision; that when one avenue of happiness is bereft with impediments; there are always another avenues of meaningful happiness that are there in life provided of course that we take the meaningful; purposeful and responsible initiatives intelligently and spontaneously; while ensuring that no permission is given to any avenues that might be deviating from ethical practices; practicing and observance of a conventional protocol of good and responsible conduct and character always

    Tribute to our Mothers

    As a token of appreciation for the immense and very most valuable efforts that our Mothers take for us; we should always strive to accomplish and excel in our respective endeavors; taking care of our duties; our agendas; our assignments; our objectives; meaningfully; purposefully and responsibly always

    Summarization

    The above was a very brief admirable prelude since the greatness of Women could not be expressed in these few words alone

    History; Women are Truly the Pride of our Lives

    History is testament to the evidential factor that will always proudly express that Women are truly the Pride of our Lives always; and it is a privilege to acknowledge this with appreciation; utmost thanks and gratefulness

    Appreciative

    May One and All be Appreciative; Grateful and Thankful

    Happiness

    May Happiness be showered on One and All; May One and All be Healthy;

    Love

    May One and All be Loved & Respected; May One and All have Well-being

    Mutual

    May One and All realize that their Happiness is linked to others Happiness;

    World

    May One and All recognize that when the World is Happy, they are Happier;

    Meaning

    May One and All discover the true meaning of Life is that Life is Precious

    Resourceful

    May One and All be Resourceful & Talented; May One and All Achieve and Excel;

    Considerate

    May One and All be Considerate; Creative; Meaningful; Purposeful and Responsible;

    Nature

    May One and All Love Nature; The Environment & Humanity;

    Respect

    May One and All Respect One Another; May One and All Inspire One Another;

    Meaningful

    May One and All realize that they each have a very meaningful and special purpose in Life;

    Gems

    May One and All believe that they are the precious Gems of this Universe;

    Life

    May One and All realize that Life is Beautiful; Precious, Meaningful and Purposeful;

    Symbol

    May One and All be a Symbol of Gods Loving Love and Light; Radiating Joy for others;

    Happiness

    May One and All be Blessed with a Vision of Happiness, Prosperity, Progress and Wisdom always

    Gratitude; Many Thanks

    Thank you for your attention and good wishes; God Bless

    Universal Appreciation; Happiness; Gratitude & Wisdom May

    Universal Appreciation; Happiness; Consideration; Compassion; Respect; Peace; Love; Cooperation; Inspiration; Gratitude; Economic Development, Stability; Prosperity, Progress & Wisdom prevail always

    Love & Light;

    God Bless,

    Vashi

    ©2009 Vashi Ram Chandi

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