Friday, March 7, 2014

Women's Day

Posted by Robyn.

I had no idea.

Sure, I've heard of International Women's Day. and thought it was a Soviet relic of a holiday...celebrated perhaps with parades of women, marching in rows of healthy, smiling damsels wearing neck kerchiefs, and a few special honorees receiving small wildflower bouquets from a dear leader.


I was wrong!

This is a fun, and quite modern holiday in Kazakhstan.

For one, it is a national holiday and as often as possible made into a long weekend. This year it falls on Saturday, March 8, and Monday is a day off.

For two, Men Take It Seriously.  My male colleagues produced flowers, boxes of chocolates as well as cake and adult beverages to honor their three female colleagues (on Thursday, a day early, because they were all going away to spend the long weekend with their wives).  And today, Friday, Astana restaurants were full of women being treated to lunch by their male colleagues.

For three, women take it seriously! Kevin was advised by his female classmates that he should plan to really celebrate his wife, and it wouldn't hurt for him to remember the ladies in class at their next session, either. and I was given a gift by my assistant - and to my complete surprise, I was given flowers by her best friend!
I'm experiencing Women's Day in Kazakhstan as a combination of Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and Secretary's Administrative Professionals Day all rolled into one.

The first tulips are from Kazakhstan, too
Did you know it has its own website?  where I learned that "International Women's Day is an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honoring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc. with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother's Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers."

Do try this at home!

Have you ever celebrated Women's Day?

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