By: Joanne Natale Spigonardo
If you have ever been to Italy on International Women’s Day, you know that it is an extra special day in many ways. Most regions celebrate women by honoring them with sweets and mostly with mimosa flowers, which are some of the first to bloom in Italy in the spring. Landscapes are ablaze with them and create a golden aura on the countryside. Not only are the mimosa flowers beautiful, but they are also generously abundant, fragrant, and are often used to describe the nature of Italian women. Given that the flowers flourish after harsh winters, pandemics, economic issues, and social strife, they also can offer happiness and hope for everyone, just like women.
The origin of International Women’s Day is in the early 20th century globally when women were fighting for equal rights. In Italy it became particularly popular in post-World War II, when the country was faced with a break-down of government, poverty, and uncertainty. Women were at the forefront to fight for fairness to all, then and now. The strength of women to organize, educate, nurture and to generally get the job done is a credit to the world. Women are often able to do this without violence or hostility, with a focused leadership quality.
A special memory that I have of International Women’s day was when I visited Florence on March 8th many years ago. Even though I had heard of the massive mimosa giving tradition, I was not prepared for what transpired. Just imagine walking along the beautiful Ponte Vecchio and taking in the early spring sunshine on the flowing Arno and being greeted by mimosa bearing strangers. These strangers became friends in that moment of giving, it was such a random act of kindness that still brings joy to my heart. I had an armful of the flowers given to me in minutes, by children, adults, the old and the young. As I walked, I shared these flowers with those that I met, saying a friendly word. The act of giving was infectious, on that day we were all on the same path, in the city of the Renaissance, on a day of rebirth and enlightenment.
While there is so much that separates us, there is so much more that can unite us. I hope that you can honor women today by sharing something special with others. If you can find the mimosa flowers that would be the most traditional, but anything will do, the point is that giving of yourself is a liberating and rewarding experience. Others need us and women have so much to give. Happy International Women’s Day!
About the Author: Joanne Natale Spigonardo
Joanne has many years of experience in travel to Italy, Italian art, literature, film, history, wine, and cuisine. She is a lover of nature and beauty. She is an advocate for Italian immigrant women, and the author of White Widow, which is available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/White-Widow-Joanne-Natale-Spigonardo/dp/B085DT65DB. For more information about Joanne please visit her LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joanne-spigonardo-b4824a9/.