Festa delle Donne

March 8, 2016 / Events
Italy

festadonneAuguri alle signore! (Best wishes to the ladies!) Today is la Giornata Internazionale delle Donne, aka Women’s Day. Celebrated in quite a few countries its tone varies widely, from having a strong emphasis on women’s political, social, and economic rights at one end of the spectrum, to a celebration more akin to St.Valentine’s Day at the other end.

In Italy, la Festa delle Donne, as it is more commonly called, sits in the middle of this range, maybe leaning slightly towards the Hallmark end. There usually are some political events and marches organized, yet for the most part the day consists of men and women expressing their best wishes (Auguri!) to any woman encountered.

So what to do, gentlemen (specifically)? Invest in a branch of mimosa (available from any flower vendor at this time of year), and give this bright early spring flower as you express your wishes… hence, Auguri! and a mimosa sprig for Bruna (your vegetable-stand lady at the market), an Auguri! and a mimosa sprig for the grumpy lady at the post office whom you have to go to once a month for bureaucratic reasons, an Auguri! and a mimosa sprig for your friendly barista who makes your cappuccino each morning, an Auguri! and a mimosa sprig for… you get the picture.

festadonne2

GB

by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

41 Responses to “Festa delle Donne”

  1. I remember seeing these when we first arrived in Perugia and wondered what they were all about – our landlady/friend told us all about it. This so reminds me of that wonderful time in our lives. Grazie!

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  2. Leslie

    Love your post. I had no idea it was that complicated. Next year I’ll have to bring a sprig to the “grumpy witch” at my post office. Maybe it’s a requirement that each post office have at least one. :^)

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  3. Lynda Higgs

    Thank you for solving the mystery of the ubiquitous mimosa flower sellers – pity they give me hay fever though!

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  4. Marge Miller

    Love hearing about different customs in other countries – at least those that aren’t gross!!

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  5. Margie

    GB, Yet another well written, informative, witty and totally entertaining article. Are you also this witty in Italian??? I wonder?

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  6. Paula (Giangreco) Cullison

    Grazie Millie for your article on International Women’s Day – March 8th – la Giornata Internazionale delle Donne aka Festa delle Donne.
    We appreciate your recognition of this important day.
    I read your articles every morning, as I sip my cup of coffee. What a great way to begin the day!

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  7. Denise

    My cousin in Italy sends me a virtual sprig of Mimosa-it’s the thought that counts!

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  8. Roseann

    GB-

    So odd-in the states the mimosa is a wispy pinkish flower from the Mimosa tree. Such a great difference from the Italian mimosa.

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  9. Giuseppe Spano
    Giuseppe Spano

    As it is, with all the good ,the bad and the ugly that warrant a ‘sprig’, a man should grow his own tree,just to keep in pace.

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  10. Bravi to the women of the world — and when we free and protect women from the international (criminal) sex-slave trade, and lift women above domination by men to have equal respect and opportunity in the labor market, when the churches give women the responsibility and privilege of the priesthood, etc, etc, then we will celebrate a true International Women’s Day.

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    • just change that bravi to brave, Jim, and it’ll be fine. Just celebrated our Festa this evening here in Italy and it was wonderful…dolci, asti, sprigs of mimosa… and NO POLITICS! Just women enjoying being a tad spoiled by the men. Italians so know how to do things right!

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  11. Filiz Venn

    This is a lovely, informative note but it would be even better to have received it the day before the event, rather than after. It’s always nice to know what to look forward to I think. Thanks and lovely photos of the mimosa!

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  12. Paula (Giangreco) Cullison

    Grazie Mille for remembering le donne in such a special way… with a photo of beautiful mimosa. We had a most interesting International Women’s Day event yesterday featuring local female authors (Women’s Words). We continue our collective efforts to elevate women http://www.azwp.org

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  13. DEAR GB,
    THANKS FOR THE INFO I LOVED THE REMARK ABOUT THE “GRUMPY” LADY AT THE POSTOFFICE.I HAVE LEARNED THAT I MAY BE BETTER OFF NOT MAKING EYE CONTACT WITH EVERYBODY JUST IN CASE THEY HAVE A SAD DAY SO WHAT I DO NOW I TRY TO BE KIND BY GIVING THEM WERTERS BUTTERSCOTCH CANDY :) OH YEAH,
    IT IS AMAZING HOW MANY SMILES I GET FROM JUST THIS LITTLE GIFT OF SWEETNESS.
    I LOVE TO SEE YOU TRY IT ON “GRUMPY” TELL HER I TOLD YOU TO DO THAT AND THEN JUST HIT THE EXIT AND SEE WHAT SHE WILL DO NEXT TIME :) WHEN YOU COME IN THE DOOR.
    GOD BLESS TINA
    THE BLUEBERRY GORWERS WIFE IN KY USA

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  14. What a great day to bring a girl into the world – my daughter was born on this day – my neighbours bought in these flowers to the hospital, and that is when I learnt of this festa here in Italy.

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  15. Mary Jane Cryan
    Mary Jane Cryan

    I received a beautiful bouquet of mimosa this morning not purchased from a flower vendor, but cut from one of the many trees surrounding our olive grove. Hope all the women contributers to IN received one too.

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  16. Ann Waggoner

    Lovely! I now live in a country where it seems that “Ladies Day” is not recognised. This beings back memories of receiving auguries and mimosa from all and sundry on this happy day. I even had mimosa tucked under my windscreen wipers at the car wash! Auguri alla Mamma e uno grande abbraccio. Ann Waggoner

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  17. Paula (Giangreco) Cullison

    Grazie Mille! Today we have a program in honor of IWD to celebrate the accomplishments of women. In May we have an event to raise funds to help the under-served women and children here in Arizona. It’s our 12th year for the Arizona Women’s Partnership Wine, WoMEN & Jazz FUNdraiser. I wish you could join us … info: http://www.azwp.org

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  18. Rosemary

    I remember so well encountering the flower stands filled with mimosa branches and asking what it was all about! Lovely tradition (even if it borders on the Hallmark variety!) Our President just signed the Violence Against Women Act. There’s irony in that I’m sure.

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  19. Linda Boccia

    GREAT IDEA TO BRING A MIMOSA SPRIG! BUONA FESTA ALLE DONNE DAPPERTUTTO!!!

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  20. I was in a small town (Ginosa, Apulia) while living in Matera…and i wanted my mother to see the extensive caves there. Once habitable, they are now deserted-I predict a future complex where artists and craftspeople will make this place come alive again. But i prefer the original condition – anyway, we were in a small church which a woman was cleaning, and the woman started to cry. she said my mother looked like HER mother (now deceased). This day was International Women’s day-of which I was unaware, but the woman disappeared and came back with an armload of mimose for my mother. I still have the photos. Then, she invited her to see the bones beneath the church. Another beautiful Italian experience that day, not to even mention the beautiful walled stone trail for the sheep (the name escapes me just now-something like tramontana-but not!)

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  21. Penny Ewles-Bergeron

    Lovely note GB. I had to train myself to accept sprigs of mimosa gratefully since I can’t abide the scent of it! But once I realised what love and warmth comes with the offering, I mustered my very best smile! (-:

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  22. So cool! And so different from our southern USA mimosa sprigs. How I love learning different customs from my own…..even in nature !!

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  23. Toni DeBella

    I don’t understand what the matter is? I checked outside my door several times today and there was “niente”. I am sure it was an oversight! Buona festa delle donne tutte!

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  24. Marianna Raccuglia

    How nice! I would like it if someone handed me a lovely mimosas spring. Thank you for this article. It put a smile on m my face

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  25. Colleen Simpson

    Received my mimosa and some candy from my butcher, Michele, when I was shopping at his macelleria. And more candy at the alimentari of Matteo. Big Festa della Donne Cena at the Circolo. We are certainly celebrating in Piegaro!

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  26. Pat Carney Ceccarelli
    Pat Carney Ceccarelli

    You have got it just right GB. ! Auguri a tutti!

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  27. Gretchen Bloom
    Gretchen Bloom

    Thanks a lot for remembering, GB! From the Other GB (Gretchen Bloom)

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  28. The mimosa looks like Australian wattle to me – I remember seeing it growing in Italy and wondering whether it was the same plant as we have here in Australia.

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  29. Ginny Siggia

    Such a simple and lovely thing to do. It may mean more to the recipient than you could ever realize.

    Reply

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