The celebration of Women’s Day takes different forms in different countries – and most notably so in Russia. There, March 8 is an official holiday for men and women, similar to Mother’s Day in some Western countries. The day is intended to pay acknowledgment to all women.
International Women’s Day was established in the 20th century as a result of women claiming their rights, in the areas of work, and the right to vote. The first ever women’s strike occurred on 8 March 1908 in New York. The strike was in protest at the poor working conditions in the textile industry, and it is famously remembered for the women’s poetically phrased demand for ‘bread and roses’.
In Russia, cut flowers are given as a gift much more frequently than in Western Europe.Over three-quarters of all cut flowers in Russia are bought as a gift. In the Netherlands two-thirds of cut flowers are purchased for own use. And of all the flowers given as a gift in Russia, in 2013 as much as 9% was intended for Women’s Day. That makes this a much more important occasion for flower vendors than Mother’s Day, which only accounts for 1%. Russians buy around 70% of the flowers for Women’s Day on the day, while most other nationalities buy a bouquet the day before.
The people that buy flowers for Women’s Day are also found among all age categories, unlike for Mother’s Day for example, where 90% of the buyers are younger than 40 years. The flowers for Women’s Day are bought at the florist (56%), the flower kiosk (20%) or from street vendors (12%). The share of sales by street vendors is high compared to other gift occasions. Also, a mono-floral bouquet is more popular for Russian Women’s Day than a mixed bouquet. Of all the flowers, the tulip is the favourite flower (37%), followed by roses (33%) and chrysanthemums (14%). Red is the most important colour, but compared to other gift occasions people frequently buy yellow and purple flowers as well.