Tuesday, March 8, 2011

La Festa Della Donna

http://www.flickr.com/photos/10286198@N04/3332335833/ Mimosa Flower
My allergies told me before I read it online that the Mimosa flowers that are all over Rome right now are closely related to the Acacia flowers we have in California.  All day I had been seeing these blooms;  people selling bunches of them on the street, vases of them in shops and they are pinned to the lapels of women walking down the street.  When I got home I flipped open my laptop to figure out what story is with these yellow sprays.

I went to my favorite source of insight into the Italian Culture, Becoming Italian Word by Word and was not disappointed.  There in Dianne Hales latest blog post was the answer to my question.  Today is International Woman's Day.  A day that as it turns out got it's start in America, though we as a culture don't really celebrate it now.  Originally way back in 1908 American woman organized themselves to seek better pay and working conditions, then it seems that in 1909 there was what is referred to as the Shirtwaist Strike organized by women who worked in the garment industry in.  However it was not until after the death of 129 woman textile workers in the notorious Triangle Fire of 1911 in New York that the world began to take notice.

After some debate over the date, it was determined that March 8th would be International Woman's Day.  Italy can boast of having created Women's Day's most charming tradition, the yellow mimosa. Abundant at this time of year, the flower was chosen by the Union of Italian Women in 1946 for its vibrant, joyous color and its fragile appearance (which disguises a sturdy plant) as well as its traditional symbolism of life from death.(http://www.catholic.org/featured/headline.php?ID=778) And this is why women all over Italy (I assume, but certainly in Rome) are decorated with and given these sprigs of Mimosa flowers.


For more on the State of Women's Rights in Italy

Prostitutes on the streets of Rome
Those being brought here against their will as modern day slaves
Those who end up here as refugees
The Roma Women who have no legal rights here
The Women who work Italian Television as one of Silvio's Girls

And so many others.  Pray with me...for honor, dignity, hope, freedom, justice and peace for these woman and so many others here in Rome and around the world.

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