The smell of blossom fills the air, as men all over Italy show their love and respect for the special women in their life, by presenting them with the beautifully scented and vibrant yellow coloured mimosa branch. In Italy, there is always something to celebrate, and the 8th March is ‘Festa della donna’ (Women’s day).
The symbolic meaning of giving the mimosa, has been lost but it is believed it originated in Rome after World War II, when men began giving the blossom to their significant others, as a sign of their love and appreciation. This continues to this day and houses across the land are filled with the pleasant aroma of this beautiful blossom. But nowadays, it is not only the men who give mimosa to the women, women also give mimosa to the special ladies in their life too!
So how did this day come about? In fact, it all started in New York, on 8th March 1857, when a strike by garment workers in New York, led to the formation of the first women’s union in the United States. Sixty years later Russian women led a strike calling for “bread and peace” during the twin horrors of World War I and the Russian Revolution. In 1945 the Union of Italian Women decreed that Italian women should be recognised for all that they do, not only for the family but also for their role in society, thus the 8th March was declared ‘Festa della donna’
So, here’s to all the beautiful ‘donne’.