International Women’s Day – history, customs and more

by Rada Boneva
 International Women’s Day – history, customs and more

We just got used to having teddy bears,red roses and cakes so much around to the point that they started blending in with the flower bouquets lurking around the corner.

Mother nature has been honoured and cherished for centuries, we’ve all heard of rituals celebrating fertility, womanhood and new beginnings.

And speaking of womanhood, 8th March – International Women’s Day is right around the corner. Do you know why is it celebrated on that date though and how it all started?

International Women’s Day is an occassion to celebrate and commemorate the economical, political and social success of women worldwide. Ever since the beginning of industrialisation women have been working side by side with men. The idea of having an international women’s day starts after a protest about improving labour conditions which took place on 23rd February 1909 with 15,000 women at its forefront in the USA but this is a mass protest inspired by an earlier one taking place on 8th March 1857 in New York when working women take their dissatisfaction with their low wages and bad working conditions. The first women’s trade union is born on the very same date two years later. The union is pushing for higher salaries for women, the right to vote and putting an end to the long working hours.

During the first international women’s conference, held in Copenhagen in 1910 a major decision is taken which is to commemorate 8th March every year as a date marking women’s fight for equal labour rights. The date starts getting celebrated the following year in Denmark, Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Things get a little more complicated with the First World War approaching and the temporary Russian government in fact allows women to vote on 8th March 1917 (new style calendar). The first ever country allowing women to vote though is not the Russian Federation, it’s New Zealand in 1893.

How do things begin in Bulgaria then? Why are International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day celebrated on the same date?

Did you know that the first time International Women’s Day was commemorated in Bulgaria was in 1915? 

Its official celebration though takes longer to be adopted till 1944 and it becomes an occassion to honour women’s contribution in fields such as science, culture, industrial development and more.

And then it gets a little complicated. Bulgarians decide to mix women’s contribution to science and culture with the love and respect for mothers in society and that is how the joint celebration is born. The picture is a little different worldwide.

The first time Mother’s Day gets celebrated in the States is in 1908 thanks to the primary school teacher Anna Jarvis who starts it as a way to honour her own mother. The date soon marks the calender of Brits, Germans, Danes, Italians and more.

Here is a little question for you? Do you know when is Father’s Day? Do you celebrate it? Bulgarians do during the 3rd week of June.

How does International Women’s Day get celebrated worldwide?

Although here in Bulgaria we technically celebrate two occassions on one date, women still don’t get a day off on 8th March which is NOT the case in countries like Russia, Serbia, Cuba, China, Bosnia and Herzegovina and more. A total of 28 countries have 8th March as a public holiday : )

During the same date but in May women don’t do any housework in Germany. March is also regarded as Women’s Month in the States. In Italy the custom is that men give women a yellow mimosa flower as a gift on that date. The meaning here is symbolic as the mimosa has been regarded as the symbol of International Women’s Day since 1946. In countries like China, Macedonia, Madagaskar and Nepal it’s only women who have a day off on 8th March, men are still obliged to go to work : )

International Women’s Day is officially recognised by the UN during the 1970’s and it turns into a celebration with many meanings, a day for all the ladies out there. Up to this day the UN finds a special way to commemorate the day, the theme this year is:”I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights” and the challenge is to take a picture with the gesture signifying equality and upload it on social media with the #GenerationEquality. The theme is not designed only for 8th March as Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist once explained “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”

© Photograph: Sarah Koester / EyeEm

How are you celebrating this Sunday?

Before we give you some ideas, we’d like to remind you that celebrating the day means showing love and respect not only towards our mothers, grannies, colleagues and friends but also to ourselves as fellow women.

When we feel good in our skin, when we take care of our physical and mental health no task can get the better of us! Taking care of ourselves helps us to be more productive at work, enjoy our hobbies more and have a better personal life! And after all, we gotta be a good example for our children, right?

And now the time has come for…

Ideas for original Women’s Day gifts:

  • We’ve always believed that Experiences matter more than things so if you go for one of our plantable greeting cards you can spend a weekend with your favourite lady to plant her card together and see the love blossoming right in front of your eyes!
  • A wise man once said that one of the most important tasks we’ll ever have is to plant trees.Why don’t you get on with it on Women’s Day? In Bulgaria, are responsible for planting over 800,000 trees but you can always organise a family session at someone’s summer house or an afternoon in the neighbourhood : )
  • If you’re more into flowers than trees and you do like giving them as gifts, get some in a pot, make a cupcake bouquet or get some cloth ones!
  • Boys, no girl ever will get angry if you decide to be a bit more romantic on the occassion (and not ONLY) and write her a letter, remind her of your favourite moment together or just leave her a cute note before you go to work. Cook her a meal, pour her a glass of wine and let her shine bright like a diamond!
  • If you like cooking together you can also go to a cooking class or even a cocktail one?
  • Although we don’t get a day off on 8th March over here, this year it’s on Sunday so you can make a SPA weekend out of it or organise something small like a walk with the dogs from the local shelter, a little hike nearby or a brunch in a favourite cafe.
  • Another cool idea is to get in touch with us for a #zerowaste workshop with friends or a team building activity! We can show you how to make almost everything from a tote bag out of a t-shirt, beeswax wrap (check out some ideas about how to keep your food fresh for longer HERE, natural cosmetics and more… At the end of it you’ll leave not just with a product that you’ve made yourself but also with more knowledge and inspiration to get out there and help this world turn into a more sustainable place! For more information about the workshops we offer you can get in touch directly with our Founder Vera at

  • Some other experience-based ideas are art workshops, sailing, horse riding.
  • Some other groovy ideas include making your own chocoate with our friends from Gayo Chocolate or even making your beer in the city of Stara Zagora (you can read more about it HERE)


On the very same lovely date (8th March) 3 years ago we created Green Revolucia to help you reduce waste every single day! If there is anything from our store that you like and want to get, now is the time because we’re giving you a 10% DISCOUNT code – happybirthday

You can use it on all items apart from the kits as their price is already reduced, it’s valid till 9th March 2020.

Also, don’t forget to like our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram to stay up-to-date with our latest zero-waste tips, tricks, events and giveaways : )