March 8th is a day that has come and gone several times in my life...28 to be exact...in relative calm and ordinariness. But that was pre-Moscow life. As it turns out, March 8th is International Women's Day and, while it may be an internationally declared holiday, here it is seriously celebrated!
Friday was an officially observed holiday and, while my love of the Moscow metro is growing thin, on Thursday night it was breathtaking. Flowers play a large part in Russian culture, and it seemed that no one in the swarms of commuters was without a bouquet. The men dutifully carried their deliveries, and the women happily basked in their colorful holiday carnage. Even the babushkas seemed to be smiling.
On the actual holiday, I experienced the bliss of an empty metro and clear streets on my commute in to work. And was pleasantly surprised with tulips (the flower of choice for 3/8) and a lovely chashka with accompanying herbal tea. Flowers and chai...it doesn't get more Russian than that!
At the end of the day, March 8th felt like a cross between our western Mother's Day and Valentine's Day. But it's beautiful in that rather than celebrating simply love or simply mothers, it's a recognition of womanhood. I have been blessed with some fabulous women in my life---mother, sisters, aunts, teachers, soul sisters, and friends---and I'm truly grateful for the role they play not only in my life, but in society at large. And I'm grateful for a day that honors every one of them. So whether you celebrated in your country or not, HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY!!!