Today is Festa della Donna! Auguri!
It's March 8th which means it's International Women's Day or Festa della Donna. International Women's Day is celebrated around the world to show solidarity and recognize the importance of women in society. The day was born out of political and social awareness for women. In 1946, the Union of Italian Women set aside March 8th to celebrate womanhood.
Around this time, the Italian political activist Teresa Mattei and women’s rights activist Rita Montagnana, gave out mimosa flowers to other women as a symbol of support for each other. Why mimosa? They are in bloom in most parts of Italy at this time, and while their flower may look delicate they have strong stems which can survive the harshest of times - just like women. Today markets, like the Sant'Ambrogio in Firenze, are filled with bouquets and store windows are decorated with fragrant yellow flowers.
No holiday is complete without a little cake! On Festa della Donna bakery windows fill up with mimosa cakes. Each bakery will have their own recipe but it's usually a yellow sponge cake filled with cream with more pieces of the sponge cake assembled on top to look like mimosa flowers.
While cake and flowers are symbolic, there are many more serious ways to honor the day. Organizations invite speakers to lead discussions on women's rights and demonstrations and marches can be found in many cities.
Many museums and cultural sites are free for women today. If you happen to be in Firenze, admission to museums such as the Uffizi, Bargello, and Medici Chapels are free.
While the day marks the importance and ongoing issue of women's rights, it is also a joyous celebration of the women in your life.