Love for flowers. 8th of March
8th of March is rewarding day for flower vendors all around Latvia. Still now many young gentlemen would bring flowers to the first date. Flowers are popular birthday and names day (important in Latvia, something like second birthday, even better you do not age) gift for women given not only by beloved ones but also by friends, family members, work colleagues and class mates. All flower vendors know that heydays are Valentine’s day; 1st of September which is beginning of school and all kids bring loads of flowers to the teachers; graduation parties at the end of May and beginning of summer when flowers goes not only to teachers, professors but to graduates too; International Women’s Day 8th of March is not an exception.
8th of March was non-working day during USSR times and I asked my parents (in their 50’s now) to share their memories, they told that all men were getting drunk and all women were walking around with flowers. I wonder if it affected demographics of USSR.
First time Women’s Day was celebrated on 28th of February, 1909, in New York. Socialists in Europe followed this example and during International Women’s Conference held in Copenhagen proposed to celebrate International Women’s Day and promote equal rights. In 1917 women were participating in International Women’s Day demonstrations in Saint Petersburg which lead to February Revolution. They were against poor life condition and demanded to end World War I, results were end of Tsars Romanov dynasty and end of Russian Empire. It was made a national holiday by Bolshevik Alexandra Kollontai and Vladimir Lenin in USSR. It was official holiday since 1965.
8th of March was not officially celebrated after Latvia regained its independence because it was seen as symbol of USSR regime. Flowers were still consumed but alcohol consumption on 7th of March had to decline as 8th of March was no longer a public holiday. It was announced as official celebration day again only in 2008 to join the world in International Women’s Day celebration and raise awareness about women’s rights, but it is not the public holiday.