Break out the mimosa blossoms (or some other yellow flowers), grab your girlfriends, eat cake, and enjoy some time out together. Today is International Women's Day, otherwise known as the Festa della Donna here in Italy.
It is generally heralded as girl's night out, a chance to ditch the dinner chores, escape the kids, and spend a few unhindered hours in compagnia delle amiche (in the company of friends). While I have sometimes heard it referred to as "hen's night," with male strippers as the evening's highlight, I have not actually seen this rendition in our neck of the woods. Last year, I was invited to a cena speciale, a special dinner where the restaurant was open only to our pre-reserved group, which boasted a huge feast, lots of laughter, and "girl talk". No Chippendales popped up. (Sorry to disappoint you.)
I think most women just like the having an evening officially sanctioned to themselves. Oddly, I saw a poster in Agropoli announcing a Festa della Donna party with men, "because it's more fun together". Oh, please; every day is man's day! Why can't they have one measly night out, just the women?!
We have friends from Le Marche visiting this weekend, so I'll whip up the traditional mimosa cake and, if the weather is nice, maybe we will take a country walk and snitch some yellow puff blossoms from the wild.
While the cena speciale is nice, I think it is also important to remember and pay homage to those who have gone before us, paving the way for the opportunities, rights, and freedoms we enjoy today...and recall that in many parts of our world, women are still highly oppressed and abused.
There are many example of women who made a difference in their neighborhoods and the world. One I admire is Jane Addams. She championed the pressing, urban social issues of the day, and provided for the poor of Chicago's Industrial Age slums, lobbing for labor reforms, particularly regarding child labor laws, the exploitation of immigrant workers, and safety issues in factories. She founded the American Settlement House Movement and through Hull House offered a variety of training classes, practical workshops, concerts, and cultural events, as well as a playground for the kids. She started it entirely with her own funding until she found wealthy sponsors. A suffragette, Addams was the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.
Want more inspiring examples? Read some of the Biographies of Notable Women, which offers countless examples of awesome, touching, or odds-defying women. Famous Female Firsts is a slide-show presentation of ground-breaking gals.
So, here's to being feminine! Buona festa della Donna! This is your day...how are you celebrating it?
Girl Power - 2007 homage to la festa