The Floral Traditions of International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day falls each year on March 8th. This celebration, which brings into focus the plight of women’s rights around the world, has a long and storied floral tradition dating back to its inception in the early 1900s. Here we’ll guide you through the origins, symbolism, and most popular International Women’s Day flowers officially associated with this significant event.


A Brief History of International Women’s Day

A Brief History of International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is a United Nations-recognized worldwide celebration of women’s achievements in all aspects of life from social to economic, political, and cultural. It is also the day that highlights women’s empowerment and a call for gender parity. 

The first iteration of the day was in February 1908 when 15,000 women who were garment workers in New York City fought actively against low wages, long hours, and lack of voting rights. To commemorate this historic event, the Socialist Party of America declared the first National Woman’s Day (NWD) on February 28, 1909.

In 1911, the German socialist and advocate for women’s rights Clara Zetkin proposed the idea of an International Women’s Day during the International Conference of Working Women. Over 100 women from 17 countries who attended the conference approved the proposal unanimously resulting in the International Women’s Day we recognize today. 

This historical event was first commemorated on March 19 in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.

It wasn’t until 1913 that International Women’s Day officially celebrated on March 8. The day transferred to March 8 following discussions after the Russian women observed their first celebration that year. 


International Women’s Day and the United Nations

In 1975, the United Nations began commemorating International Women’s Day on March 8. Then in December 1977, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the UN Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be commemorated on any day of the year by its Member States. 


Colors of International Women’s Day 

The color purple is officially associated with the day. Originating from the Women’s Social and Political Union in the UK in 1908, where women’s equality is represented by the colors purple, green, and white. The color purple represents all the efforts to attain gender equality. Because of that, celebrations of Women’s Day across the globe frequently incorporate wearing the color purple as a form of support to women. 


International Women’s Day theme for 2021

International Women’s Day theme for 2021

The campaign theme for March 8, 2021 (International Women’s Day 2021) is #ChooseToChallenge


Flowers and International Women’s Day

Flowers Associated with International Women’s Day

Gifting flowers on International Women’s Day has become a norm. On March 8, every year, men and women alike express support and appreciation to every woman in their lives. From family and friends to co-workers and those we admire by giving a beautiful selection of floral bouquets. 

Although mimosa flowers have special meaning and a part in the history of the long-celebrated holiday, there are other remarkable blooms out there that make the International Women’s Day celebration extraordinary and memorable. In Russia for instance, roses are the favored bloom of choice. Daffodils, tulips, and snowdrops also make exceptional gifting flowers.

Are you planning to participate in this flower-giving tradition for this year’s International Women’s Day on March 8? Here’s a quick flower gifting guide. 


The Official Flower of International Women’s Day: The Mimosa Flower

Flowers and International Women’s Day

The association of mimosa flowers with International Women’s Day originated in Italy.

The political party UDI (Unione Donne Italiane, the Italian Women’s Union) organized Italy’s first International Women’s Day celebration called Festa Della Donna in 1946. The objective was to fight for the equality of women. On March 8, 1946, members of the UDI chose the mimosa as the symbol of this celebration because it represents strength, sensibility, and sensitivity. 

The reason they are the official flower isn’t precisely known – seasonality and abundance during that time of year are considered a factor. Also, the yellow color of mimosa flowers often symbolizes cheerfulness. 

To this day, the tradition of giving a bouquet of mimosa flowers to women of all ages is practiced not just in Italy, but in other parts of the world as well. 


Other International Women’s Day Flowers

Although the mimosa flower is the most recognized, other flowers play essential roles in the success of this celebration. Here are some of the most well-received flowers for International Women’s Day:

Roses

Roses for International Women’s Day

Roses aren’t just for Valentine’s Day. These flowering shrubs offer a plethora of colors and make an excellent gift for the inspiring woman in your life. Aside from mimosas, roses are also a top choice for the International Women’s Day holiday. 

Russia is one of the many countries that celebrate the day to the fullest extent by gifting flowers to inspiring women. As per a report from The New York Times, flower shops in Russia often sell around 150,000 roses every year for International Women’s Day alone. Most flower shops in Russia usually sell that amount over the course of an entire month.

A bouquet of red roses is a sure way to express pure love, affection, and passion. Pink roses convey romance, while white roses symbolize a pure heart. Bright yellow roses are typically are gifted to friends and co-workers as a symbol of friendship. 

Tulips

Tulips for International Women’s Day

Like roses, tulips also make an excellent flower for International Women’s Day. This popular spring flower exudes attractive colors and elegant forms that make the holiday indeed a special one. One could never go wrong with its just-the-right scent and wide range of color options. 

In some countries, giving red tulips is a declaration of love. Yellow tulips, on the other hand, mean that you are entirely in love. 

Peonies

Peonies for International Women’s Day

Peonies are often referred to as the queen of flowers. These flowers, which are native to China, offer lots of colors like red, white, pink, and more. They symbolize romance, good luck, compassion, and prosperity. 

Lilies

Lilies for International Women’s Day

Lilies are a symbol of motherhood, passion, and beauty which makes them a fantastic choice for International Women’s Day. Often mixed with roses in bouquets, they showcase the perfect balance between romance and beauty. 

Different lilies convey different meanings. White lilies, for example, signify innocence and purity. A colorful mix of lilies, on the other hand, often expresses joy and happiness. 

Gerberas

Gerbera Daisies for International Women’s Day

Gerberas, or gerbera daisies, symbolize purity, innocence, and beauty. Showcasing a magnificent array of colors, an assorted bouquet of these blooms would undoubtedly brighten up anyone’s day.

Carnations

Carnations for International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is a day to show appreciation for women you valued the most. Aside from roses, one of the most popular cut flowers for bouquets is the carnation.

Carnations, known as the “divine flower” based on its Greek name dianthus, offer a plethora of color options. Generally, they symbolize friendship and respect. But red carnations, in particular, are an expression of pure love. 


Where can I buy the best flowers for International Women’s Day?

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We are a floristry, plant, and lifestyle city resource curated by a passionate team of horticulturists, floral & plant enthusiasts, budding designers, and intrepid urban gardeners. We're committed to showcasing the best in floral and plant design, sharing our experience and recommendations on the best blooms and greenery for every occasion, season, and living environment, and spreading our love of the enchanting world of flowers and plants.

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