International Women’s Day is March 8—learn the history behind this feminist tradition and the flowers that go with it.

By Real Simple Editors
Updated February 04, 2020
Advertisement

Every year on March 8, people around the world celebrate the women in their lives by observing International Women’s Day. In addition to shopping at women-owned businesses and using the day to give money or resources to organizations that help women throughout the year, many people also follow the tradition of gifting International Women’s Day flowers on March 8.

International Women’s Day is a United Nations–sanctioned global holiday that aims to celebrate women’s contributions to society and raise awareness to the areas of society that need to improve to reach gender equality. Each year has an official theme, but unofficially, many people use it as a day to remember all the women that have made an impact in their lives through sharing International Women’s Day quotes, thoughtful messages, and more.

The International Women’s Day 2020 theme from the UN is I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights. The official International Women’s Day website has announced that this year’s theme is #EachforEqual; both campaigns emphasize the importance of each individual working toward a more equal world.

C.Aranega/Getty Images

C.Aranega/Getty Images

The history of International Women’s Day stretches back more than 100 years, when the day was first observed across Europe and America. But according to NPR, it wasn’t until March 8, 1946, that feminists in Italy chose the mimosa flower as a symbol of strength, sensibility and sensitivity for Women’s Day.

Over the years, women and men alike have continued to give the gift of flowers to show their appreciation for the strong women in their lives. And although the mimosa flower has a special significance, it’s not the only flower given. According to The New York Times, flower shops across Russia sell upwards of 150,000 roses on March 8. You, too, can participate in the flower-giving tradition this year; order flower delivery to the special women in your life ahead of time, or pick up a bouquet from your local flower shop and gift individual blooms to the women you pass throughout the day.

© Perrogon / Andia.fr/Getty Images