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Congratulations on the International Women’s Day (IWD)

Dear parishioners!
On this Spring Feast we wish you Health, Happiness, Love, and Wealth!

History: The first IWD was observed on 28 February 1909 in the United States following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. Among other relevant historic events, it came to commemorate the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. The idea of having an international women’s day was first put forward at the turn of the 20th century amid rapid world industrialization and economic expansion that led to protests over working conditions.
In 1910 the first international women’s conference was held in Copenhagen by the Second International and an ‘International Women’s Day’ was established, which was submitted by the important German Socialist Clara Zetkin, although no date was specified. The following year, 1911, IWD was marked by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, on March 19. Furthermore, on the eve of World War I, women across Europe held peace rallies on 8 March 1913. In the West, International Women’s Day was commemorated during the 1910s and 1920s, but dwindled. It was revived by the rise of feminism in the 1960s.
The day is an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Croatia, Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zambia. In some countries, such as Cameroon or Romania, the day is not a public holiday, but is widely observed nonetheless.
On this day it is customary for men to give the women in their lives – mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, colleagues, etc – flowers and small gifts. In some countries (such as Romania) it is also observed as an equivalent of Mother’s Day, where children also give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union celebrations of IWD were abandoned in Armenia. Instead April 7 was introduced as state holiday of ‘Beauty and Motherhood.’ The new holiday immediately got popular among Armenians, as it commemorates one of the main holidays of Armenian Church, Annunciation. However, people still kept celebrating IWD on March 8 as well. Public discussion held on the topic of two ‘Women’s Days’ in Armenia resulted in the recognition of the so called ‘Women’s Month’ which is the period between March 8 and April 7.
In Italy, to celebrate the day, men give yellow mimosas to women. Yellow mimosas and chocolate are also one of the most common March 8 presents in Russia and Albania.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Lithuania, Moldova, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Serbia the custom of giving women flowers still prevails. Women sometimes get gifts from their employers too. Schoolchildren often bring gifts for their teachers as well.
In countries like Portugal it is usual, at the night of 8 March, for groups of women celebrate in “women-only” dinners and parties.
In India, IWD holds a lot of significance. Many celebrations are held during the day.
In Pakistan working women in formal and informal sectors celebrate International Women’s Day every year to commemorate their ongoing struggle for due rights, despite facing many cultural and religious restrictions. Some women working for change in society use IWM to help the movement for women’s rights. In Poland, for instance, every International Women’s Day includes large feminist demonstrations in major cities.
In 1975, which had been designated as International Women’s Year, the United Nations gave official sanction to and began sponsoring International Women’s Day.
The 2005 Congress (conference) of the British Trades Union Congress overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling for IWD to be designated a public holiday in the United Kingdom.
Since 2005 International Women’s Day has been celebrated in Montevideo, either on the principal street, 18 de Julio, or alternatively through one of its neighbourhoods. The event has attracted much publicity due to a group of female drummers, La Melaza, who have performed each year.
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