You must be familiar with International Women’s Day, right? Or maybe there are also such celebrations in your country?
There must be some background behind the International Women’s Day all over the world. Whether it’s in the form of a different atmosphere of celebration, giving a holiday when celebrating, or maybe about the events that occurred during the celebration.
Then what about Russia’s International Women’s day?
- STORY ABOUT RUSSIA’S INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
International Women’s Day in Russia is on March 8, which is celebrated at the beginning of the spring month. The women in Russia celebrated the first International Women’s Day on March 2, 1913. On that date, they held a demonstration demanding voting rights in St. Petersburg which was then the capital of Russia. The demonstration that day caused the Russian Emperor Nicholas II to step down from his throne. This resignation came four days after the big demonstration. Because of the demonstration, the Russian government gave Russian women the right to vote temporarily. But International Women’s Day in Russia has become a national holiday since 1918.
This national holiday celebration appears to symbolize women’s struggle for their rights, gender equality, democracy and peace. Russia ranks poorly in terms of gender equality.
On March 8, 1917, women in Russia organized another large-scale demonstration. This demonstration even made historians believe that this was the beginning of the revolution in Russia. A national holiday commemorating International Women’s Day in Russia is not known as Women’s Day holiday. It’s simply called “The 8th of March”.
Many public places in Russia will close on International Women’s Day. Even so, shops and kiosks will usually remain open. Public transportation runs less frequently when compared to usual.
- RUSSIA’S INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY AS A NATIONAL HOLIDAY
The function of the national holiday on March 8 is to celebrate International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day in Russia. The Russians did not commemorate Mother’s Day on their own date. They make it coincide with the celebration of International Women’s Day.
Russia’s International Women’s Day is more important day than Mother’s Day in another country. Women’s Day celebrations in Russia are official and recognized holidays. Workers get a holiday to commemorate it. This is a way of empowering women even though the style of celebration sometimes still seems condescending to women from among those who believe in equality.
Because March 8 is a national holiday, workers or companies hold International Women’s Day celebrations the day before or maybe after the holidays. Women will get some gifts from their coworkers. Even champagne and cakes are usually served.
In the school, the students bring flowers for their teachers. There are also those who make art crafts with the theme Women’s Day to take home and then give to their mothers and grandmothers.
International Women’s Day in Russia is often a celebration between family or friends. During the celebration there will be plenty of food and drinks to enliven the celebration. The women will receive flowers, greeting cards or other gift. There are also programs on television that gives tribute to the achievement of famous women Russian from the past to the present.
Although Women’s Day is a national holiday in Russia, there are some people who choose not to celebrate the day. This happens to old people who don’t like the complexity of party celebrations or spend their money to give gifts to others. In fact, there are about 14% of Russians have no plans to celebrate International Women’s Day in 2010.
- FEMINIST ISSUE
Celebration of International Women’s Day often raises “feminist” issues. Even the word “feminist” often has a negative meaning for some people. That also happened in Russia. Russia is considered as one of the countries where Women’s Day was born. Even at first, Women’s Day was also considered a day of feminist action.
The #MeToo movement is identical in celebration of Women’s Day. But in Russia, the celebration tends to be used to promote ancient goals about what the real role of women is. When other countries criticize matters of sexual harassment, the #MeToo movement has yet to make major changes in Russia. Even the movement was ridiculed by officials.
But Russia is far from lacking in the women’s movement. Large-scale campaigns against domestic violence and sexual abuse have emerged in Russia. The biggest thing came in 2016, there was the hashtag #IAmNotAfraidToSay when a Ukrainian activist encouraged women to share their experiences of violence and abuse in social media.
Although there are feminist problems on the holiday commemorating International Women’s Day, March 8 is deeply embedded in history and culture in Russia.
- BESIDES THE EXISTING ISSUES
More time passes, the celebration of Russia’s International Women’s Day is slowly losing its political element. And being a tribute to all women in Russia. People in Russia will bring along gifts and flowers to their important women— mother, grandmother, daughter, wife, aunt, girlfriend, best friends, colleagues or others. The flowers are generally given on that day is of spring flowers. For example tulips.
Women who live abroad (more feminist women) keep celebrating with their friends and colleagues. Although sometimes it doesn’t show directly.
Maybe there are still many other facts behind the celebration of International Women’s Day in Russia.
Are there similarities about the celebration of International Women’s Day in Russia with those in your country? I hope this article can really help you to know about Russia’s International Women’s Day.