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Celebrating International Women’s Day in Italy

Giornata Internazionale della Donna, or International Women’s Day in Italy, is a major holiday celebrated throughout the country. In this article, you’ll learn how Italians honor the women in their lives and about the most common traditions for Women’s Day.

Let’s get started.

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1. What is International Women’s Day?

In Italy, International Women’s Day may not be a public holiday, but that doesn’t keep people from finding ways to honor the women in their lives. Essentially, International Women’s Day is a reminder of the “discrimination” (discriminazione) and “violence” (violenza) women have faced in the past, and a day to celebrate the higher social position women have today.

This festival was first celebrated in 1909 in the United States, while in Italy, it has only been celebrated since 1922. However, it was only after the end of World War II that this day became an important holiday. This is because, after the war, women could vote and have a political career for the first time in the history of Italy.

This greater sense of “equality” (uguaglianza) continues to call for celebration today, and in Italy, Women’s Day is observed with fervor throughout the country. In addition, women often fight for greater equality on Women’s Day.

2. When is Women’s Day?

A Woman Sitting with Her Arms on Top of a Desk

Each year, International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8.

3. Women’s Day Traditions and Celebrations

Woman Smelling a Bouquet of Flowers

On International Women’s Day, Italy is abloom with love, appreciation, and respect for women. This is often done through gift-giving, of which sweets and flowers are common favorites.

Since 1946, the mimosa has been the symbol of the holiday, and today serves as the most popular Women’s Day flower in Italy. The mimosa is a yellow flower that grows in abundance throughout Italy, blooming in early March. Each year in Italy, Women’s Day flowers are available in all the shops and markets, which sell sprigs of mimosa that people then give as gifts to the women in their life.

As you know, Italians are very fond of sweets, and so naturally, there’s a typical dessert dedicated to celebrating Women’s Day. It’s called the mimosa cake, or torta mimosa. This cake is so named because it‘s yellow in color and it seems to be covered with mimosa flowers. In reality, it’s a sponge cake with whipped cream. Another favorite sweet for Women’s Day is “chocolate” (cioccolato).

4. Two Very Important Italian Women

In Italian history, there are two very notable women. Do you know who they are?

The first is Teresa Mattei, one of the first women in Italian politics. She’s the one who made mimosas the symbol of Women’s Day in 1946.

The second is an Italian woman who received the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1986. Her name was Rita Levi Montalcini, and she made important discoveries for the treatment of serious diseases such as cancer.

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for International Women’s Day

A Mimosa Flower

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this lesson? Here’s a list of the most important words and phrases for International Women’s Day in Italy!

  • Cioccolato — “Chocolate”
  • Donna — “Woman”
  • Mimosa — “Mimosa”
  • Parità — “Parity”
  • Diritto — “Right”
  • Uguaglianza — “Equality”
  • Torta mimosa — “Mimosa cake”
  • Giornata Internazionale della Donna — “International Women’s Day”
  • Violenza — “Violence”
  • Discriminazione — “Discrimination”

To hear the pronunciation of each word, and to read them alongside relevant images, check out our Italian International Women’s Day vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Women’s Day in Italy with us! Does your country celebrate International Women’s Day, or honor women some other way? Let us know in the comments!

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Felice Giornata Internazionale della Donna! (“Happy International Women’s Day!” in Italian) from the ItalianPod101 family.

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